Grandpa Dug a Hole Beneath the Tangerine Tree

by Daryl Muranaka

Beneath the tree
he digs a hole
wide and deep
to bury the hina dolls
packed carefully, gently,
into their wooden boxes
as if they were
the very baby
they belong to.

He looks up at the tree,
the dark leaves,
the confused fruit
as he rests upon the shovel handle
under the blue light
of the tropical moon.

The war means
burying your thoughts,
burying your feelings,
burying the long suffering
hours of pennies
and nickels plopped in jars,
trying to buy back
the years his wife lost,
the legacy of the orphaned girl,
with the dolls of their baby.
How the years will chew away
like the ground termites
on the Empress’ cheek
until peace arrives
and nothing is left
of the hina dolls.

We never replace
what we lose,
only wonder
at the empty shelves,
the empty spaces,
my daughter has.
How what’s lost fills
the vacuum of history
as I stare into the empty mantle.


Daryl Muranaka lives in the Boston area with his wife and two children. He enjoys aikido and taijiquan and exploring his children’s dual heritages. His poems have appeared in By&By Poetry, the Roanoke Review, and Spry Literary Review. He has published one collection and a chapbook.

1 Comment

Filed under Poetry

One response to “Grandpa Dug a Hole Beneath the Tangerine Tree

  1. Pingback: Grandpa Dug a Hole Beneath the Tangerine Tree | Maya's and Sam's Dad

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s