• Alyssa Naka Silver

My Place Among the Cicadas

The cicadas are my alarm clock.

Awake, I feel at peace. I feel alive.

The sun hot,

the air humid,

this is my happy place.

I feel like a child again, conversing with my aunts and uncles in the best Japanese I can muster.

I feel at peace with myself. I feel whole.


the sentences I manage to say are from complete.

They are far from whole.

Here, in the place where I feel most at home, yet always feeling like I am a stranger looking in.

I am behind the yellow tape and I can’t quite seem to get in— let me in—

Let me in.

The fresh, shiny slice of fish resting on a small bed of rice, as you dip it into sweet soy.

Dip after dip. Order after order.

The sweet smell of incense wafting through the air—the offerings to the ancestors—

Their ancestors.

My ancestors.

The things that used to make me feel most at home, suddenly leave me lost. I am not blind, but my vision is blurred. In and out of focus.

I look at these familiarities and think—

how can I not become a stranger when I already am one?

The mother of my motherland,

my connection to familiarity, won’t stay forever.

And then, I won’t have anything to hold onto anymore.

I will have to find my place…

By myself.

Walking off into a sunset that doesn’t quite end like the movies.

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