My Bride Face and Okasan: My Mother in-law, 2 poems by Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana

My Bride Face

Families from far apart met in Sengen Shrine.

I didn’t know the ritual;
reciting words, in heavy gold
kimono, geisha-face and geta.
I wore a wooden wig.

Later, in ivory and tiara, I sang karaoke.
They loved my foreign bride face
and soft brown bob.
They loved our kokusai kekkon.

At home, you’d nightly
embrace a steaming tub.
Gaman, daily perseverance,
your mantra.

I tried to forget our honeymoon––
your persistent pace and summoning,
of Sorrento waiters, with a sumimasen.

I tried to forget how you wanted to leave
early. Missed food. Missed work.
Missed your Mother
tongue.

I tried to forget
you were a chonan, first son,
with familial obligation.
I tried to forget.

Yet finally, we couldn’t deny
the bunka-no- chigai: cultural difference.

 

Okasan: My Mother-in-law

A triangular bow
greets my feet.

I de-boot, clumsily,
to slipper.
I’ll never truly enter.

It’s day one—you
marvel at my bum: oshiree,
which is okii—big!

Years on, I re-visit.
Wife now, yet, I’m not allowed
your miso soup.

Soup which first
tasted like earth,
but became home.

Instead, breakfast ‘bacon’:
gammon—vast
and foreign.

In my wedding photo
I look like cupid,
you claim.

I’m still unreal.


Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana
Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana came to poetry writing last year. She was shortlisted for the Fish Publishing Prize 2018 and has appeared in print and online in Silver Needle Press, Snakeskin, Eunoia Review, and Typishly. She taught for a decade, in Japan, until 2006, and currently lives in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, in Northeast England, where she teaches Humanities at Newcastle University.

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