Deanna NIkaido

Two Poems

Orbit: The Asian American Issue
Volume 15:3, Summer 2014


I rehearsed letting go
after cupping the lamp of my childhood hands
to those thumb-sized suns jumping orbit.
The canary of my uncaged body
the distance between wishing and dream,
its lighthouse of prayers
scattered like unset diamonds.

I counted darknesses
beneath a taxidermy of skin.
Recalled the suns riddles—
the number of places I called  home by seventeen.
The remainder hinged to these fluttering stars
on this warm summer’s night
in the wind now answering my child
who remembers the ratio of light to forgetting,
the transparent feathers of her just-so body tucked
in crescent sleep
tailgating the night’s heart—
the room filling with dreams.
Light letting through her bones.



(Fukishima, March 11, 2011)

In the deep of me I know
when hearts evaporate
they know better than we how to
fly without a scratch
having outgrown their chests
but for now
we drift in our grief

watching prayers swim
in the half turn of cups
saturated with sea

and while remembering goes on
forgetting begins
the sea without a conscience
the rake floating miles from its garden
rippling the moon

the rice swelling

their tiny hulls lanterning away from their paddies
the agitated water turned milk
rinsing the souls inside


Deanna Nikaido is the author of two collections of poetry, Voice Like Water (Word of Mouth Press, 2009) and Vibrating With Silence (Writers Lair Books, 2007) and holds a degree in Illustration from Art Center College of Design. She is a senior coach and design consultant for Bookinaday, a non profit hands-on literacy project that teaches students the fundamentals of creative writing, through poetry and book publication and is Maryland's North and Western Regional Coordinator for the national recitation program, Poetry Out Loud. She is currently working on her first children's book, a third collection of poetry and is a student of Jin Shin Jyutsu. To read more by this author: Five Poems, Vol. 8:3, 2007