My luffa plant long dead by August,
I crayon its imaginary vine and how
its fruit plumps with each thunderstorm
followed by the brassy cicadas’ drone.
Mom is on the phone, long-distance
with Dad, saying my sister’s skin has
stayed white as marble. More like
squid, I think, watching her practice
swimming on the sweaty tatami mat
We are doing so well in this country
where there is no king. My skin peels,
leaving a map of islands we were
supposed to travel this summer.
Mom pours herself an Orion Beer;
we open a box of sea grapes from Okinawa.
By the time Dad’s plane lands in Tokyo,
the souvenir jelly beans will have paled
in his suitcase. No matter what
our teacher says, I don’t see the point
of keeping a diary when stringed grape-
beads burst salty speech in our mouths,
and the family floats like an island
the ocean can pull under itself
any moment, with so little effort.