Day 5 Poetry Challenge: Ten Rules

My grandmother was a woman of deep emotions
but little words.
Perhaps it was the broken English way she spoke,
or the many hours alone in the back room
with her foot-pedal Singer sewing machine,
the dust threads
flying into the stifling Lahaina heat
like a gossamer shroud.
But always, when she spoke, it was about the value
of use, the shame of frivolity
the decadence of  wastefulness.
Study hard,
wear clean panties,
no waste
water, paper, fabric, food, money. . .
no make shame, no shame the family, no shame yourself,
be a good girl,
be smart,           
no be like the neighbor girl,
clean your ching ching good,
clean your feet before you come in the house
marry Japanese.
- Cathy Kanoelani Ikeda 4/5/12


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