Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi
a marriage

“a marriage” is dedicated to the poet and dancer, Sandra Doller.

Kaneshiro Araki was the tiniest man Margaret Morri had ever seen, at just under
eight inches tall, weighing in at two pounds, six ounces fully clothed, and she loved him
passionately, devotedly, from the moment he first parted hair from her face and kissed
her, until their final kiss thirty-eight years later, Kane’s tears and saliva amounting to a
mask of glistening snail venom upon her cheek, Margaret asleep, dreaming of Kane’s
parted lips, then drifting away from the body collapsed under uterine cancer, slipping
from Kane’s small, strong fingers, his retreating cheekbones, his flat Greek nose, his
blue-black beard.

Margaret’s mother Naoko had always been a harsh critic of the union. The evening
Margaret and Kane were married at the Gila River camp chapel, Naoko stood in the
doorway of the Morri family barrack for six straight hours, staring in its direction, arms
folded, brow puckered. Naoko said she’d met plenty of men like Kane before.

– Of course these eight or nine inch men are beautiful, she told her daughter. But
their hearts are restless. Mercurial. You will never find a way to hold him true to you.

This more or less had been the content of every conversation Margaret had
entertained with her mother for thirty years.

Following Margaret’s death, Kane attended to Naoko until her death, eighteen
years later. He cooked her meals, washed her laundry, drove her to medical
appointments, and accompanied her to the funerals of family acquaintances. In those
eighteen years, Naoko never found a way to verbalize an apology to Kane. Though she
dreamed of her apology sometimes, how the words would lather in her mouth, Kane
standing in the palm of her hand, her eyes crowded with tears, her coarse, white hair
falling at his feet.

Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi previously studied poetics at Santa Clara University and UC Davis. He is a current graduate student of creative writing at UC San Diego. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as iO, Scythe, Washington Square, Barge Press, The Brooklyner, Alligator Juniper, CutBank and Alice Blue Review.