She was born in California.

Soon was on her way back to Japan.

17 years later, she met a man

With a fond smile, a kind face

She might have been in love.

She might have married, but-

She didn't. Her parents,

Older now, maybe wiser,

Paid for one ship's ride back to the U.S.

She might not have wanted to go,

She might have wanted to stay,

Care for her parents

And who might have been her husband.

But she didn't. She went

On the boat ride, and never went back.

Her parents had already picked out a husband for her,

Of whom she had only seen a black and white photo

That had gotten crinkled on its journey to her.

She might not have wanted to go,

But she did. She went,

Her soul might have been fluttering,

He heart might have been breaking,

But she went.

'Onward', she might have cried.

Years later, she is going to move

Into a Jewish nursing home.

Her son found a goblet

Which contained matchbooks, letters,

And a crinkled photo, sun-worn.

It wasn't his father.

He took the goblet, and

Regretfully splashed water into it

And threw the soggy mess into the trash bin.

Later, when her son came to visit,

She, as well as many others, came to him saying,

"You're a fine young man. You're a fine young man…"

And once, his mother reached onto his shoulder, asking,

"Kazuyo Shihori, is that you?" Softening, the man replied,

"Yes, it's me." Knowing perfectly well that

Kazuyo was his father, and Shihori was the man from Japan.

But it was also his own name.