The climate is calling.
I try and reconcile the family into one topography. It is still only a dream. Wrapped inside the throat, dry of sound. The archaeology of a myth that sat on its haunches outside a silkworm farm, a stone’s throw from Hiroshima. This story folds our fault lines in half.
It’s how the crow flies, Grandma tells me.
Grandma is a child unbound outside the burning of her country. Flash of light. Japan, a cinder, a match, in the water of our history.
She is dressed so that her lower half is hidden behind layers of silk, embroidered symbols of moonlight farms, the shadow of a mountain, its body like a rugged tongue against the flat of night.
On her top half she is bare, like an animal, small and lineless. Like fog just forming. A rib cage, the nape of her neck, her hair bound away from her face by her aunt’s loom of fingertips.
She refuses to submerge into the current of the clothing.
Her aunt forces her onto the ground, pushes her toward the waves settled at her waist. Calls her downward like the line of symbols Grandma writes to recreate memory. She claws at the weeds, sees a silkworm in the wild grass. Watches the small body inch toward her.
It begins to cover the space of her scent with the green of mulberry leaves.
Her aunt is persistent with arms that have the advantage of gravity,
Of spaces turned inside out by lifting and shuffling earth to fill fractures in the land.
Grandma looks up.
Sees the black teeth waiting for her in Hiroshima. A thick root of tobacco between her aunt’s lips.
Grandma hears the laughter of a woman, too much like a man, to be real. The grandmother who is a daughter, who is a mother, slips into the clothes and away from the earth.
This is not where the story begins, but in a boarding house in Woodland where her father plays cards to silence time passing. He sits on a crate from the farm where he has a small plot of rented land for vegetables. His voice sounds like the husking of corn and he smells of the new country, of a language that lays horizontally on the page. Inching along to fight space in place of light.
Her father beats his hands against the tops of his thighs as the cigarette ash sifts heat onto his laps. He turns to look at the open door the boarding house. The father sees his daughter attempt to pull herself from the ground outside Hiroshima. He thinks he sees her teeth turn black. The father remembers a story he was told in the early morning of his birth. A chill unravels through his body.
To break the dream, he takes his cigarette and throws it towards the girl. The daughter.
Sweat-lined, she moves closer to the blood on the floor. There are no knives tonight, or memories of drowning in fire.
She is remembering things again.
The station, the room, the chair in the corner, the ticket, the name, the number, the small bead of blood that dripped from her nose onto the paper.
She signed her name with violence.