I wasn’t born in the states. But I wasn’t exactly born in Japan. I was born on a Navy Base in Japan…which complicates the idea of belonging. I can’t tell you what home is, or what home feels like. But sometimes I feel I’ve come close to feeling at home. The Pacific Ocean, for instance, gives me a feeling I can only describe as relief. It’s the same feeling I get when I walk into an Asian grocery store. Familiar smells and sights and sounds that bring me to myself just a little bit more.
And Seattle, this state in general, has seemed to give me a space of my own.
When the Seattle Review of Books published my poem “My Heart the Size of a Tea Kettle,” it’s hard to express how much that meant to me. To be located, recognized, in the place where I live, as if, maybe, this is my home, this community my family.
I still can’t tell you what home is…or if Washington is one for me, even after all these years. But even if I am a guest, I don’t think I’ve overstayed my welcome. I still greet this place with a sense of joy and feel I’ve many years to give here.