S a r a  H u g h e s

K i y o k o


Father burned our hut
when I said goodbye. The same
hands that built our home

destroyed it, sheet by
paper sheet. Rage spread dark red
on his sallow cheeks.

Against empty breasts
my half-gaijin baby screamed.
Ashes choked the night.


I left my home torn.
Thomas-san’s baby held tight
to my arms. We sailed.

My husband said Don’t
look back. I did. Asahi’s
mountains sunk into

black ground. America
gave me no freedom. Strangers
whipped me with their tongues.