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Orange Obi-Tie, 1988

My mother sliced Japanese burdock.
Cabbage soup simmered on the stove.

It was always raining in 1988
after my mother took her Kimono wearing classes.

I waited for my father in front of the bus stop.
With his umbrella, I played in puddles on the asphalt street.

“You don’t have to cook this much everyday,”
my father said drinking glasses of beer.

My mother showed him her new silk obi-tie.
It was bright orange under the dining room light.

My father had a cerebral hemorrhage.
His brain forgot everything after 1988.

Through his nostrils,
yogurt formula comes down in tubes and his body digests it.

His laundry bags are putrid and cumbersome.

While I recite to myself why he has to live,
my mother folds the obi-tie.

After her Kimono class, she eats soba-noodles
and visits my father with clean underwear.

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Naoko Fujimoto was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan. She was an exchange student and received a B.A. and M.A. from Indiana University South Bend. Her recent publications are in Prairie Schooner, Hotel Amerika, RHINO, Cream City Review, and many other journals. Her first chapbook, “Home, No Home”, won the annual Oro Fino Chapbook Competition by Educe Press. Other short collections, “Silver Seasons of Heartache” and “Cochlea”, will be published by Glass Lyre Press in May, 2017. Currently she is working on her graphic poetry co…