Wednesday, May 1, 2013

You can never dig in the garden without coming upon broken bits of glass and pottery. Yesterday it was blue and white.
Your grandmother embroidered the seat covers for her dining room chairs with arrangements of flowers never seen in Annam, Belgian flowers that emerge from bulbs after winters of damp grey felt. Then the Japanese army, not so long before a distant threat - like another century's plague - was right outside their city, and their gates. She left the embroidered dining room chairs behind, along with the unbroken pottery and the portraits of the children, in the house at deux cent seize Rue Pelerin. Three weeks later, her friend, Madame Ngu, dined with the Japanese general and set her bottom upon your grandmother’s embroidered hyacinths.
In the camps, a hyacinth bulb could prolong a life by several days. But death came in the end.

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