I wrote this ‘poem’ as an assignment for The Writer’s Studio Online. The assignment was to take an object and tell its story.
I put it off for weeks. Then I sat down with my object, so I could get my one point for posting to the discussion. As I wrote the last line and thought of the many things one thinks about when thinking of herself as ‘foreign’, I felt an unexpected urge to cry.
But no one cries in Starbucks. Least of all a black woman wearing a burgundy sweater and a headscarf with all the colors in the world, in this winter of navy, black and brown.
Some once perfect spirals
Now broken from being shuffled around
Then cramped inside
This blue drum with three different blades pointing down the middle
Which of these flakes made way for the perfect point to write 質
To help execute the mild flourish for the thin upper strokes
What dust was shed after erasing and rewriting れ for the fifth time
And still seeing that a sixth would be necessary
Black dust stuck to the blades
Black dust in the corners of the blue drum
Black dust in the crevices of the screws pinning the blades to their white holdings
Is there a perfect pencil to write kanji
Lol, no. But I think you can try No.2
Rows and rows of packs and packs of No.2 pencils
No fewer than 12 in one pack!
One row of sharpeners
Choose quickly before the baby wakes up
Blue because not pink
Three-way because, well it must be better than one-way
Only 100 yen
Holding the errors of a foreign fist