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I am writing poems adapting Japanese tsunami news/stories into the first narrative. What I can do as Japanese, I want to tell their stories to English speaking countries. The poem is fictional based on a real event.


I gave you a warm
glass of sake. Uminari; miles away
waves crashed in the ocean.

It sounded like a thunder storm,
but you only saw
stars in the sky. I plucked

the samisen strings;
allegro tempo in a small
Japanese bar. The wind
slowly blew rain clouds over the stars.

Let me grab my kimono and samisen.

I screamed when a man
carried me to the hill. Fifteen
minutes later, the tsunami
washed away the bar…

I saw your wife. She looked
for you in the survivor’s list. Her eyes
followed her finger
down hundreds of names. Uminari
echoed in her mind. I want

to play the samisen again.
On the Uminari night, I light
the candle. Your favorite sake and yellow
chrysanthemum are on the counter.

Samisen is a three-stringed Japanese banjo

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