When the rain didn’t end and the pear trees disappeared below water, we climbed onto our roof and waited for the boats to come; we, passing the time by counting each of our possessions that surfaced—singled shoes, open school folders, and trash bags of loose cables we couldn’t identify and winter clothes we didn’t need for another few months. Lowering each other by the ankles, we grabbed at the loose nashi pears that bobbed by, giving each one a superlative like Fullest Figure, Largest Freckles, and Youngest to Leave Home. After our grandfather’s painting, the one of the seven rice pickers with their faces hidden beneath bamboo conical hats, we were reminded that we aren’t as strong as whatever is made to grow above water.
Loop, Whorl, and Arch
After the food delivery service reported my grandfather’s apartment door open and his shoes still shelved in the foyer, they found him handing out their brochures on the street, naked and without memory of where he lived. When my mother heard about his diminishing state, I thought of the korroke venders and children curious of the papers the old man wanted to give them. I thought of the bike traffic, swerving to avoid his arms as they shook in desperate charity. I thought of how how far gone my mother must have feared her father’s mind and how much longer it would be until he forgot everything but whatever he handed out last night, stained on his fingertips.
James A.H. White holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida Atlantic University. A winner of an AWP Intro Journals Project award for poetry, his work has appeared or is forthcoming with Colorado Review, Passages North, Black Warrior Review, Cha, and DIAGRAM, among others. He is the author of hiku [pull], a chapbook (Porkbelly Press, 2016). Twitter: @jamesahwhite.