Hanko

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My homestay mom
Brought out a birthday cake.
Fruits made gelatinous covered the tart
With only the brightest colors.
A dark, cool chocolate
Read Ai-chan.
My name.

I blew out the candle,
We ate
And I hugged her.
She was so sweet.

One lonely birthday present was given.
It made me miss my mom.
I miss my mom.
It was a hanko.

I had told her on the first day
That I didn’t really have a country.
I definitely didn’t feel American,
But even less Ecuadorian.
I had hopes for Japan.
Those were crushed.
Now with France barging in,
I’ll change citizenship.
No longer Ecuadorian.
No longer Japanese.
No longer will I be unique.

An addition to a fleet of freaks
Resting on the army ship of great
Uncle Sam.

Which is fine.
It all just comes.
A mouse was never meant
To pick his own path.
He floats with the pull.
Resistance is just hesitation.

It was not as dramatic as it sounds now.
It was casual.
But she remembered.

On our last night,
She opened a battered oyster.
Serving the ocean,
Hosting the barnacles,
It was old and tired, yet beautiful.
The black was worn but still rich in color.
The lip was glistening purple.
She could give no more
Yet still, inside,
There was a pearl,
White, pink, cream.
It shined with its own heart,
Resting on the kind peach,
Reflecting on the soft white.

She gave me it.
A hanko case.

Citizenship is but one paper that
For some reason,
People obsess all over.
We know better.

The deerskin must be molded
By myself
If I choose.
Then the ranges of my oceans
And the trenches of my mountains
Would flutter no more,
Unless flight or the dive could intrigue them,
When they then would with an orange home
To touch back for,
If the water rises too high.
The black eye of Susan waits
For her wings to rest on,
For her straw to drink
Like black chocolate cookies
On burgundy carpet.

She gave me that option.
A damaged criminal is given
The keys to His gates.
The choice is his,
But the choice must once have been given,
And he doesn’t have to
Become a priest.
And no, the priest is not chased.
He can run.
He can work.
He can travel.
He is free, and options are endless.

Mine was embellished with red flowers
On a black, stiff leather.
She said it was so anyone could know
That who was inside
Is old fashioned.
She is a girl.
She is kind.
She is Japanese,
And her name is Love.
The clasp opens,
And it is already full.

No identity can be taken away by a paper.
Listen to identity.
It is limitless,
An untouchable purity.

Still, she touched me
With the graceful
Cautious touch
That any new sixteen year old needs.

I know now
I am more free
Than I have ever been.
Like danger in wings
I roll in orange flames,
Up hills,
As the phoenix sings
His yellow song
In burning lights.

Humans are indefinable.
Character is varying.
Identity is mysterious.
It’s also the easiest thing in the world,
If only you know you’re options,
And that is to be whatever you wish,
Because I have an untouchable mind,
An unalterable heart
And I say
Thank you.





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