Things that Make Today about Mother by Kimiko Hahn

Things that Make Today about Mother
Kimiko Hahn

A weed I picked in the park, sowthistle, and dropped into a tumbler. It may last long enough to sprout tendrils.

The snoozing puppy curled like a sleeping cat. Like Kiki, her favorite.


Vicks cough drop

A bracelet that Dad gave to me after she died. Twenty-one years later, I have yet to wear this silver dragon from Siem Reap. I do wear the bangles often enough.


Walking to the subway, I notice a toddler wearing pink tights–oh, how difficult it is to get those over chubby, little legs! Then over diapers! Difficult, especially when those legs are kicking!

Children’s scissors

She was so proud to teach the girls how to tie shoelaces. And cut paper. And step downstairs, “like a big girl.”

Tomatoes. She could not eat tomatoes. And would never say more than, “I don’t know why.”


A snapdragon pressed in the pages of The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon.

Sowthistle. What she called, Pualele.

Kimiko Hahn is the author of nine collections and often finds that disparate sources have triggered her material—whether Flaubert’s sex-tour in The Unbearable Heart, an exhumation in The Artist’s Daughter or classical Japanese forms in The Narrow Road to the Interior. Rarified fields of science prompted her latest collections Toxic Flora and Brain Fever (both W.W. Norton) as well as a new chapbook, Cryptic Chamber (Epiphany). Hahn’s most recent award was a Guggenheim Fellowship and she is a distinguished professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Literary Translation at Queens College, CUNY.

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