What Father Brought Home

by Catherine Cobb Morocco

Tiny porcelain cups. Hot sake,
Mother said. She nested a cup
in my palm, poured in warm water.
The marble at the bottom cleared to
a woman’s dark eyes, mouth, hair.

My dreams of three women in silk robes
painted with lilies, swans. Kimonos,
Mother said. Heads sag, they raise
their hands to shield their eyelids,
melting cheek skins, lips.

The word, Nagasaki. One month after,
Father drove a jeep over a plain called?
Epicenter, Mother says. He had a gun?
Don’t ask him. Loaded men from prisons
onto his battleship for home.

His present. In orange and green paper.
Just packages of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum,
in celophane, my sister said. Bought from
the airport. He stooped to hug us.
No, to see our baby brother.

The photo—smiling in his tilted sailor hat,
his navy suit with stripes on the collar.
On our bedroom wall with movie stars,
airplanes flying high over his head.
It’s a backdrop, Mother told us.


Photo credit

About Catherine Cobb Morocco

Catherine Cobb Morocco was born in South Dakota and currently lives in Newton, Massachusetts. Her first book, Moon without Craters or Shadows (Aldrich 2014) explores her recovery from brain injury. "Son's Story" from that volume won the Dana Foundation (Neuroscience) prize for poetry about the brain.  Her poems are published in The Massachusetts Review, Prairie Schooner, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Salamander, Hamilton Stone Review, CALYX and Poet Lore. She is first author of two professional books on the role of writing in teaching for deep understanding with adolescents.

Catherine Cobb Morocco

Catherine Cobb Morocco is online at