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.
wear clean panties,
water, paper, fabric, food, money. . .
no make shame, no shame the family, no shame yourself,
be a good girl,
no be like the neighbor girl,
clean your ching ching good,
clean your feet before you come in the house
- Cathy Kanoelani Ikeda 4/5/12