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October 2013, vol 9, no 3

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Genie Nakano

Dance of the Dead

Every summer I danced in the Little Tokyo Obon Festival. Grandmother helped me put on the pink kimono borrowed from my cousin. When she finished, Grandmother's smile was brighter than the August moon.

I wasn't crazy about wearing the kimono. It flattened my breasts and the obi wrapped around my waist left me shapeless. But I loved the silk hanging flowers and silver metal decorations that dangled from my hair.

In September, Mom left Dad and me and ran off with another man. The following summer, Grandmother died and Dad turned into a hippie, dropping acid along with Japanese traditions.

her eyes
fill with violet tears