Breadcrumb Trails

I carry a leather bound book,

And if you opened it,

You would find,

A trimming of lace,

A concert ticket to Kpop bands,

A sketch of trees in freezing lands,

A tea and tear stained page,

Recipes from the 1970’s

And my grandma smiling up at me


When I was small enough

To fold myself into a cardboard box

Playing with dragons and Pokemon trainers

Grandma would clasp me in

Settle down in arms and chins

And teach me all there is to scrapbooking


She would flip through the newspaper

Like a manual

A self-help book

Extracting an article about Dettol sponsored hygiene

Another about the campaign’s future presidents

A memoir for forgotten faces

A 101 guide of travelling phases


She would move on the cereal boxes,

And paint cans,

Ingredients fascinated her,

Dioxylene and bismol,

Sugar and salt,

What’s inside produces what’s out.


Her calligraphed quotes and verses: Galatians,

Zen philosophy and characters Confucian,

Her language was a series paradoxes,

Meant for understanding but caused confusion,

Strokes, curves, dots and lines,

Littered the pages,

Defined her mind,


She’s 4”6, mostly bones and skin,

But that’s because she never grew up,

She grew in,


I tried to follow her,

As a duckling would its’ imprint,

But my chubby hands,

And careless fingers,

Caused more destruction than creation.


The list of ingredients,


Cloth cut as awkward as a teenagers first rave,

My tiny hands could not hold all the scraps and pieces,

Pages either stuck together,

Or fell apart.


But grandma, with her loving heart,

Helped me master, such an art.


I grew up,

She grew down,

Like candles burning,

Pencil shavings and midnight cravings.

It was gradual,

Like raindrops,

Or boiling tea,

Or dying of terminal disease.


She left her recipes under the stove,

Brodriere between the drawer-like caves,

Buttons scattered,

Ink spilled,

A dollar, two pounds,

And sometimes, I would find my photograph,

Lying on the ground.


But I would run after her,

And hand her back her scraps,

Watch worry flood her face,

Watch her startle and see a threat,

Watch her decide if I was

Friend or foe,

And figure,

she’ll never know.


And I’ll smile,


And pick up her memories,

Trailing after her


As Hansel and Gretel found their way back,

I’ll follow her trail of forgotten pieces,

And lead her back on track.


-Yuki Hansa


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