Fall 1991 • Vol. XIII No. 4 Fiction |

Winter Sky

Because they had both been married once before, the ceremony was short. Her aunt Aya wore a light gray kimono and Mr. Kimura a plain dark suit. They sat in the middle of Yuki's grandparents' largest room, the one the Buddhist altar was in. The grandparents, Uncle Kenji and his wife, and Yuki sat in a circle around them. While the priest in his white robe waved a green festooned wand over the couple and chanted, Yuki thought of a folk story her mother had told her a long time ago. Eight children sat in a circle singing and playing. Sometimes, a ninth child, neither a boy nor a girl, appeared and then disappeared. Soon the other eight noticed and began to chant, "Someone's missing, someone's here, someone's missing, someone's here," while the ninth child, the pale one, continued to appear and disappear. The chant whirled around Yuki's mind the way the bare trees of February had flown past the train window early that morning on her way. For the second time after her mother's death and

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Kyoko Mori is the author of three nonfiction books (The Dream of Water; Polite Lies; Yarn) and four novels (Shizuko’s Daughter; One Bird; Stone Field, True Arrow; Barn Cat). Her stories and essays have appeared in Harvard Review, Fourth Genre, Ploughshares, the American Scholar, Conjunctions, The Best American Essays, and other journals and anthologies. She lives in Washington, DC and teaches in George Mason University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA Program.

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