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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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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…