cross-legged monday mornings
atop a striped cushion.
the red mug is near brimming with a muddy drink
and i exhale, thinking about this past week.
it’s a cinnamon coffee morning.
i stir hot water into instant coffee
because life in japan never felt solid enough –
permanent enough –
to obtain a glass-and-metal coffeemaker.
add five dashes of cinnamon to this instant coffee
after dousing the bitter froth with soy milk.
four is unlucky, and three is, well,
i stir again.
the laptop screen opens to a panoramic coastal view.
it’s the southern edge of the korean peninsula in winter.
here is a place we walked together two years ago
and remains one of my favorite memories.
where i destroyed my buddhist prayer bracelet because i had wanted to skip a stone across the sea’s gentle waves
but inadvertently snapped the fragile band.
i kept one yellow glass bead in the travel box
and learned to move more slowly.
you wove into the fabric of my life uneasily,
pulled apart and reworked countless times
like a tangled stitch,
but now, after three years, it feels almost seamless.
there are parts of myself and my experiences that you
embroidered with gilding
and with phoenix ash,
your fingerprints gently filled cracked porcelain
with warm nights, hot tea, poetry in your native language.
you expanded my imagination and
your confidence in me,
at times when i didn’t even know i needed another person to believe in me,
you gave me everything, while quietly wishing for me to share parts of myself in return.
maybe you know by now, but i’ve already given you the things i will not give twice in this lifetime.
you filled the spaces in myself and in my consciousness that yearned for interpretation. the pieces of my childhood that fell off the mosaic of my life.
wherever we go now,
i know that
we have home in each other.