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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.


Because I’m from Nagoya, I say, Don’t worry, your
family will be fine. Because you’re from Fukushima,
you don’t think so. You pray by making thousands
of origami cranes after your American husband sleeps.
The cranes have your tear drop polka dots. Of course
I pray for the Japanese people, I say and hide my eye
drops. 12,000 became victims of the earthquake, Namu-
amida-butsu. The same as one in ten people in my village.
Ten people live in my apartment building. I’m the only
Japanese resident. My neighbor is afraid to touch my
Japanese groceries. It is not radioactive poison, I say
and eat dried green seaweed from the plastic bag.

Namu-amida-butsu is a phrase from Buddhist prayer.

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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…