Monday, April 5, 2021

Cherry Blossom

The Nightjar and the Cherry Blossom

When I arrive in Angel Island to meet my new husband, I expect a man in white, but he has a dirty jacket. His face resembles the kind smile in his photograph.

“Sakura you are more beautiful than the cherry tree you are named after.”

I nod.

Our apartment is not what the Omiai promised. Dust enters through the walls and soon my case of clothing turns sooty grey. A women next door disappears at night, with her case. In the evening he comes to speak with my husband.

“Did you notice her leaving?”

“No I was repairing nets all day.”

“Did your wife speak with her?” He looks to me with crimson eyes. I say nothing. My husband is kind and pats my arm.

“Sakura never knew her.”

The next day my husband takes me to the fields.

“Don’t speak with neighbors.” He says softly looking at the ground.

"It's dangerous."

My mother would be ashamed if she knew I’m tearing corn, I don’t tell them in my letters. In time my palms callous. Rarely, I miss sleeping on linens in Osaka and rubbing camellia oil on my hands. The smell of my husband’s hair is now my home.

In the fields I hear news of the war. My parents never write about invading Nanking or oil embargos. The order comes. All Issei must pack.  

“Order 9066 says to pack what we can carry.”

“Can we go home to Osaka?”


“Can we go somewhere else?”


The next day we leave our apartment to walk to the corrals at the Salinas rodeo, then we board the train to Poston. Yuma County is a dusty landscape. Again, I adapt to a foreign place. The unit we are assigned, like the rail car slats has gaps from redwood shrinking in the heat.

Mixing adobe becomes my passion. I plan to seal up the unit before the baby arrives. If there is too much water or too much clay the effort to get the bricks to dry in the sun results in cracked and bumped blobs. If I add more sand to the mud, the blocks set. There are no guard towers, so at night I hoist two buckets on my shoulders to gather gravel from areas closer to the river.

Repeating the exercise makes me strong. My skin becomes dark and ruddy from the work, but my husband says I am beautiful.

As I walk to find grit, a buff nightjar follows me calling cuk cuk cuk. I step carefully under the starry sky. At this time when the cooler air rises I think of the petals of the cherry trees shedding the pink candy and flying to heaven.


copyright Caroline Gerardo 4/5/2021



Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Memory Swamp

Rain in New Orleans

Road trip with my children
Ride in the alligator swamp
Remember when in the car
Rain never stops explorers

Fog on pine tree


Monday, March 22, 2021

Spring garden

 I feels like spring in the garden

I'm dreaming of all the ways I can bring my flowers outside and to my new balcony. I hope some of these images will inspire you to plant in different types of pots. Use a log, use recycled objects, hunt for some free containers and have fun.

red bromeliad with variegated blades

rare shaving brush tree in pot

3 turquoise pots stacked

concrete fountain as succulent planter

long rock as a pot

six succulents mixed in a teal planter

blue wood frame holds succulents in boxes

Sunday, March 21, 2021


 Storm clouds roll over the ocean, calls to greet them.

The washed up jellyfish dying away from the bloom.

With no heart, no brain, what's the reason to survive?

After a stroke humans revert to their base brain reset.

When I'm mindless I'll refuse to be mean as mother,

I'll swim out with the umbrellas, embracing tentacles.

Dance in the veils of seaweed and tide, evolving,

diving and flying to the sun, touching sunset and back.

Caroline Gerardo ©

Monday, March 15, 2021


gas burner
 in a basement
steam engine fires up 
ancient geyser hot springs 
 sulfur pots with rusted algae.
Newsprint crumples, opens, 
thin dead branches that once 
held deciduous leaves of ash,
but mine have the cancer from
 burning the spores fly into stars, 
embeding themselves into beetles 
brown disease that plague forest
Where's the girl scout fire building
lighter fluid 
chemical cancer?
  encaustic painter
mixed dry pigments
is a 

I slept in a loft on 
Industrial Street above 
 railroad ties where men 
huddled in blue plastic condos.
When they die of cold exposure, 
lost dollars they gathered begging 
on freeway off ramps on 
Popov vodka and crank.

Mayor plans to build 
forty houses at 
four hundred thousand per unit.
Reporters herald the plan.
What of the other eleven thousand 
on the street?
Luxury construction costs, 
 I do for a living. 
Why does no one question the price? 

Crescent moon cup waits for rain
she's the yin to the mountain 
below he turns the other way
I'm afraid to go out 
the bolted
door at night
even if I'm out of firewood
plan ahead or use down comforters
layer many over in case 
when bad guys
come they 
cannot shoot 
through the

Aspen trees are a grove of one 
connected like railroad ties.

Caroline Gerardo ©  Aspen Poem