52 SONGS

...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

38. "Okinawa, 1960, a woman named Marilyn"


Okinawa, 1960, a woman named Marilyn
pets her new dog Skoshi. She drives an MG.
Her husband’s an aviator, away
whenever typhoons come, to keep
the airplanes safe. They live in beige
government housing, perched above
a rice paddy. Beyond it is the East
China Sea, then China, invisible.
She is two years
from bearing their first child.
The couple have known each other
about four months. The flight
from the States took thirty hours
and when she leaves the island
with son and husband in 1962
she’ll leave the car and dog behind.
She goes by Kay and will be ten years hence
my mother, and I might not be getting all
details right, but this is a story I’ve learned
casually, repeatedly, over years
that have peeled off patiently,
but which have lately lost that virtue.

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