Hana Widerman

Girl Wishing

As first-born daughter with a younger brother, my mother will receive kimonos and no house. In
our own apartment, you could make a life of fabric. Thick white of my mother’s wedding
kimono, then the moss green with plum flowers, the one as red as a burnt tongue. In our own
apartment, you could recreate the landscape of their house. Wooden spoons from her mother in a
box of leftover yen. Our faces in and out of the rooms like ghosts. Newly arrived box of salty
side dishes and rice crackers, graftings of her favorite variety of pear tree and flower. When I
visit my mother’s childhood home and slide open the door, her father’s sister calls out her name.
I have no choice but to keep walking into it like acquiescing into shoes or a river. My mother
makes the most frightening noise when she cuts herself on the kitchen knife. The sound of this
redness is my panic. When her foot cramps in the night, pain radiates through walls like it is
trying to find me too. G for Georgia, O for Oscar, T for Thomas, again O for Oscar. My mother
spells out her maiden name on the phone. Sometimes, the frantic sound of her voice, condensing
life’s events into brief minutes. The date of her birth was August 16th. Through the window, it is
humid and raining. Let us return to the edge of sleep, a mother and the myths. Girl wishing her
whole town into flood, fox yearning for sour grapes just above reach, lovers reaching for each
other across the milky way— or else a bridge of ravens. 

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.