Jami Nakamura Lin

Creative Nonfiction

Jami Nakamura Lin received her MFA at the Pennyslvania State University. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Passages North, Monkeybicycle, r.kv.r.y, Escape Into Life, Rock & Sling, Airplane Reading, and others. She is a creative nonfiction editor at Revolution House magazine.

Dreamscape #2: Dear Pinocchio

The Scratch Card Series

I do not think I want to be a god. I want only to craft a small thing. There's this fantasy I have. To visit a logging camp, point to the burliest man and hire him on the spot. The bulk of his shoulders, his heavy silver axe. Find the tallest pine with the softest needles. To walk through the forest in silence. This one.

He lifts his axe, throws his heft into the arc of the swing. I watch in awe. (Awesome, my grandmother once repeated when I praised a new movie, People used to use that word to talk about God!) The time between the blade leaving the shoulder and hitting the trunk an eternity. Each crack into the trunk its own death. To hold my fingers in the dark conches of my ears when it falls.

To take home a pine cord, two feet tall, two hand-spans wide—you before you. Hold a knife and whittle and whittle. The thing is that I like control, even if just a semblance of. My thick thumbs an asset, holding the cord still, silent. White curls on the dark rug like fingernail clippings. I am gentle when I hold the awl, when I twist the spaces in your face—eye sockets, earlobes, nostrils. To sand each limb with paper, to turn rough joints smooth. The beauty of a bent knee, of a well-oiled axle.

To twist strands of fishing line tight round your wrists, your ankles. To reel you in, up, down. To each pilot, her plane. This one, I thought. I do not think I want to be a god. I want only to craft a small thing. To look you in the eye, the flecks of your blue irises. To seem real, you and I both.

Scratch card

My boyfriend and I started to buy those scratch card lottery tickets every time we went grocery shopping. We lost almost all of the time. I thought I would keep all the scratched-off cards—I joked that I would turn them into some type of postmodern art. But most of our scratch cards were crossword puzzles, and I thought, hey, I could actually write about these. So I'm creating a series of short lyric essays that correspond to a scratch card. Each essay includes all of the words in the connected crossword puzzle. All the pieces revolve around the ideas of dreams and fantasies, since they're lottery tickets.