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A POEM FOR THE TOHOKU EARTHQUAKE IN JAPAN NO.16

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.

***
GRADUATION

I found your pajamas
but not your body. I kept
digging around it under

the flashlight. Here was your
body: white & cold. I washed

your face with a towel and changed
into new clothes. Your body
did not have noticeable

injuries but you
smelled like the ocean. I knew

that you were dead, but I kept
talking to you all night. You
were smiling under the bonfire.

At the crematorium, your teacher
gave me your diploma and toothbrush.

Your only picture was stained
and crumbed. You had Down Syndrome
and lived at the high school dorm.

You always said, I want to have a job.
I want to be independent after graduation.

Congratulations, your teacher
shook your hand. And your body
was carried

into the oven. I decided
not to cry after March 11.

My old parents need medicine
for their diabetes. My daughters are still
in school. I need to get food for them.

I hang your picture
in my car. I greet you every morning.

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