Aya Satoh

For example, my brother can’t write our last name in kanji but our obachan made me practice it for 20 minutes straight until it was beautiful enough to be written by an actual 日本人。.


Your edges fringe soft and wet

against my hip
you are so heavy to carry

if I could let your blood
a little longer your foot would rest close
to my ear

I sawed through you like dirt
rusted jaws

now I shoulder the intoxication
the razor elegant
millefeuille of bone muscle fat

Once I split myself open
and a sea urchin tumbled out—
it was like losing my virginity

again like granite shaken with mica
catching tiny
flames in the addled sun

I’ve lost your housekeys your watch
your hyoid I must have
left them in the truck stop bathroom

I swallowed tiny gaskets
and springs wrapped in your lungs


My pockets are heavy with

and cellulite
things too precious for the fire


We add sugar after dashi, with shoyu and mirin.

Even my mother, so afraid of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high weight, a height that cannot contain her small body. But sugar, never before the water and only to provide contrast.

It is an execution of intention.

In her wealth of putrid bloom she is exhausted for some quiet. She makes some tea, it tastes of vinegar and earth. There is no peace in the cane sugared existence, corn syrup in her toothpaste, children flattening their palates for Halloween candy and juice.

Wasanbon is made from chikutoh, kneaded into water then sieved into a powder fine enough for the confectionary my grandfather was made to quit high school for. Even my mother, so hostile to white bread, chocolate brownies and whole milk eats half a yokan with her unsweetened tea.

We break open our ancient mouths and reform them with salt.


For example, my more feminine Japanese voice.
For example, I didn’t fall in love in Kyoto, but I did in Missoula, Brooklyn, and Utica.
For example, I love Doraemon but I hate SpongeBob.
For example, the dialogue in Japanese porn makes me nauseous.
For example, I am asked ‘where are you from’ in Japanese and I don’t want to punch the person in the face.
For example, I can only fuck in English.
For example, maid cafes are where lonely men can pay to have a cute girl serve them tea and curry.
For example, cute.
For example, あめ can mean rain or candy depending on the inflection, but fuck you has even more meanings.
For example, my father thinks only white people are obsessed with Kurosawa.
For example, Americans spent $95.2 billion dollars on dentistry in 2007.
For example, geisha these days tend to be old women in their 50s who know a lot of great drinking games.
For example, my uncle says I sound stupid in Japanese.
For example, are octopi really less lurid than cocks?
For example, 例えば。
For example, my brother can’t write our last name in kanji but our obachan made me practice it for 20 minutes straight until it was beautiful enough to be written by an actual 日本人。.
For example, ふとってる means am fat and there that’s what I am.
For example, when I’m sick I crave お茶漬けbut when I’m hungover I want General Tso’s.
For example, all of the furniture in my house lifts my ass at least a foot off the floor.
For example, you were so disappointed when my hair didn’t match up with your ideas of my subservience.
For example, I still want a man who uses less hair products than I do, which is none.
For example, don’t tell me to read James Clavell.
For example, 日本の女の子はね。。。
For example, how do you take the religion out of god bless you or grace before dinner?


AYA SATOH received her MFA in poetry at the University of Montana, where she was a poetry editor for CutBank. She has been published or has work forthcoming in Apogee, Anomaly’s folio Radical: Avant Garde Poets of Color, and Bennington Review.


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