Hana Widerman

Addressed To My Mother, Which Then Somehow Leads To My Father


Tell me again how the bird 
flew into the house — 
its wing tips 
the frosted window 
on the way in. 
In the small space 
of our kitchen 
that bird became projectile, 
a flame whose 
erratic heart matched 
yours. You stood 
on the kitchen chair, 
took the broom to it 
with the isolating passion 
of the vigilant. 


At the foot of a redwood tree, 
that fallen baby bird 
with feathers too soft 
to fly. Your hands 
gathered her up 
into a cardboard box 
with shredded newspaper. 
Remember that day 
where we kept her 
on the deck table. 
I remember how 
her wings sharpened 
like a razor, 
took out a piece 
of the sky on her flight out— 
wound from which the sky poured rain. 

In this metaphor 
is my father’s face, 
his shaving on weekday mornings, 
knicking himself
in his haste 
to get to work. 
Toilet paper rolled 
into a ball 
to stop the blood. 
And the fresh scent 
as he opens the bathroom door. 

Born to an American father and a Japanese mother, Hana Widerman is a writer and English major at Princeton University where she won the Lewis Art Center's Outstanding Work by an Underclassman Award for Creative Writing. Her work has been recognized by The Poetry Society of the UK and has also appeared in The Washington Square Review. She has always been drawn to writing about language, migration, love, and history. She has moved over ten times, can’t go one meal without tea, and the first poem she remembers writing was a haiku about falling petals.