The Asian American experience is little known, comparatively, and that’s a shame on this country. Immigrants are the best of us. Introducing Christine Kitano—not that her work needs an AA asterisk as a selling point—and Sky Country, her second collection after Birds of Paradise.
Originally from LA, the daughter of a Korean immigrant mother and Japanese father, she earned an MFA at Syracuse and now teaches poetry and Asian American literature at Ithaca College.
A Story with No Moral
Lost Angeles, 1989
My mother and I are fighting again over what I should wear. I’m
small, maybe four years old. I don’t remember why I don’t want to
wear what she picks out, but recall a sense of general discomfort—
stockings that bunch and won’t stay up, nickel sized buttons that
catch my hair, lace collars that itch around my neck. I pout. My
mother says nothing for a moment, then reaches into the closet
and yanks, one surprisingly swift motion, a pink dress from its
hanger. She grips a ruffled sleeve in each hand, then pulls. The
dress rips down the bib, the pink cloth shredding, thin wisps of
pale thread framing the rupture. I’m scared. I know I’m not the
daughter my mother wants, but I still don’t know who or what she
wants me to be.
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