Happy Dream

By Derek Otsuji

Happy Dream

Derek Otsuji



And now the child dreams of the dead mother.

The small hovel about him falls away.

The little sister, with parched lips and fever,

is up and about, her voice brilliant

in the calm and impossibly bright day.

He looks up, sees his mother’s young face—soft

in pink shade of a paper parasol.

They’re walking on a beach bright with white sands,

soothed by blue, scrolling waves perfectly curled

—dream resurrecting the corpse of memory

of the one happiest day of his life.

In a lacquer box tied with fine silk cloth

are rice cakes that she’s lovingly prepared.

They will cure the hunger once and for all.



Derek Otsuji teaches English at Honolulu Community College and works at Otsuji Farms, a family-run farmer’s market, on the weekends. His work is forthcoming or has appeared in The Alembic, Atlanta Review, The Chaffin Journal, descant, DUCTS, Eclectica, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Hawaii Review, Inscape, Kaimana: Literary Arts Hawaii, The Ledge, The MacGuffin, The Midwest Quarterly, The Monarch Review, Poet Lore, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Verdad, Word Riot, and Yuan Yang. He won first place in the Eisteddfod Crown Competition; and has studied writing with the late Welsh poet Leslie Norris.

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