Trailed with clouds

The layered memories

Of time forever gone

Stands between us now

This spring dawn


“Sometimes it’s best to not talk…to keep away from people…my words, twisted and turned…misunderstood.”

My mother came to visit this morning as I read the news often filled with subjective narrative built upon passing responses to thrown at you questions.

She shared with me the anxiety hidden behind exchanges with others…within her words. Words often misunderstood…mis-translated. Words I, as a resistant teenager, often dismissed as ill-informed or un-founded.

It was mid-morning when told me that in a few days she would begin work at the hospital as a dietitian. A week ago an unknown woman came to her home – unannounced – to interview her for the position. During the interview, a written question, “Can you cook?”

“I invited her into the kitchen and showed her my stove…’of course I can cook! I raised a family!’ Did she think because I am deaf I cannot cook!”

Her history of negation, marginalization, inequality, and misunderstood awakened by the question. My anger was triggered by the fact that a job interview took place within her home … an unannounced visit. The invasion of her home…the broken boundary between work and family.

Today within this journey of remembrance is a new seed of was my perspective of human rights, of equality, of what is right and what is wrong which blocked me from the golden moment of opening myself to her truth…to the her of who she was behind her deafness.

blossoms scatter

never knowing

our regrets

          ~Ouchi Masahiro*



Fragments of memories sewed together with multiple threads of colored thoughts and feelings. As if to create a quilt…a quilt of memories…a life confirmed. Memories forgotten, hidden away, rejected…invisible quilt pieces…segments of emptiness.

My mother knew marginalization from the moment scarlet fever left her in a sound-void world reliant upon sight, touch, and feeling: dancing hands in the air, a light touch upon the shoulder, and pulsating vibrations.

She silently connected with her children through changes of vibrations…walking from one room to another, closing and opening of drawers, cupboards, and doors. Children free from “indoor voice” restraints; yet, moderated through visual and vibrating variations.

The house will filled with the sounds of snapping and clapping of hands dancing in the air – accompanied with spontaneous voice sounds.  Feet stomping on floors, hands hitting flat surfaces or waving in the air, replacing a voice calling for another.  The sounds of family games played simply for the fun of playing inserted with the sound of joy’s winning. And then followed with her graceful hands that sang, ”Should we play again?” 

My mother and I blush…we most likely were the loudest family in the neighborhood.

As the sound of a single birdsong came into the window, my mother’s eyes watched as my hands clumsily hesitated in the air. The faded muscle memory of our home language tried to question if I learned to “read and formulate internal speech” through a greater reliance on sight, touch, and feeling than hearing.

I see her words…I piecemeal each movement together…I formulate sentences…I hear her words.

There is sadness in the shared remembrance of the moment our confidence in understanding one another suddenly vanished. She, a patient, recovering from carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists. She, lying in the hospital bed, unable to sign, speaking…saying words I could not understand … no vague sense of knowing, just variations of a high pitched voice. 

I left the hospital room… a segment of our relationship had been severed. Saddened and overwhelmed by the experience of my loss and her vulnerable and alone helplessness.


Haiku before Haiku

Trans: S Carter

Morning haze

jewels of rain, falling

in a dream


My mother came to visit … she sat quietly as my stream of consciousness meandered through childhood valleys of fairness…equity…justice.

Exhaustion seemed to fill the home whenever as she strived to moderate peace and calm, especially calm, during sibling battles that suddenly erupted at the kitchen table – cause … long forgotten, exploded during board games – cause … clear evidence of cheating, erupted during Saturday’s chores – cause … unequal distribution of work assignments, shattered during floor rough and tumble play – cause … physical injury.

“I told you to quit before someone got hurt!”

Within a photo album, a polaroid image of a smiling young me in a light blue coat. With long strawberry blond hair, I stand with a Coke in hand. A princess with a trophy in hand.

A Coke or any soda pop was a rare treat…Koolaid was, “a good enough” drink. What one cannot discern from the photograph is, “You need to finish that before we leave. I don’t want to hear, It’s not fair.”

A photo tucked away in her purse. Hidden evidence of unfairness…a momentary gift of peace.

in seasonal rain

along a nameless river

fear too has no name




images initially posted in November 2016