Sage Yamashita :: Three Poems ::


Southern Legitimacy Statement: My dad worked for the State Department and I spent most of my life growing up living south of the equator including Ecuador, Peru, and South Africa. There are places and people there whose names and initials are carved on my heart and the memory of which offers me love and encouragement as often as it demands tears and heartbreak even years later.

Three Poems


Death of a Dream

How does a dream die?
Does it die from a gunshot
Or a bomb?
Does it leave smoke and blood and fire
In its wake?
Does it leave people running out of fear?
Does the dreamer carry the torch
From one ordinary day to another
Until one day
Maybe months, maybe years,
They look it as if for the first time
And can’t remember what a lit torch looked like.

The Kitchen Table

Sitting at the kitchen table staring
At all the empty seats,
I recall the memory
Of how much
Empty chairs at empty tables
Once crushed my soul.
It still hurts
And I have to remind myself
That I don’t need to make quite so much coffee
Having extra coffee brewed never hurt anyone.


When I imagine Death
I see her sitting in the kitchen
Sipping un cafecito with
I run past them
Playing my game, intent on my mischief
And Death,
Like any good Tía,
Calls after me
Only she calls out the names
Of my brothers and sisters.
Now I know she means me.
As she puts down her cafecito
I don’t answer.
Because she hasn’t called me.
I want her to say my name.
I stop and look at her.
Waiting for her to call me
To call my name.
Eventually she will get my name right.