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The Phantom of the Opera

I finally feel like I’m coming back to the world—I was depressed as hell since last March—but now I am buzzing like a young girl when crushes on her teacher. I have been watching The Phantom of the Opera—my favorite musical since I was 12 years old—and I did not know that my death metal hubby accidentally had the movie from his former roommate and had it stored away for a long time.

Every night I giggle and dream about the phantom even though I have rough days at work—I have to arrange a shipment to Japan for two huge dog houses bigger than my parents’ bedroom, and I do not know why my company suddenly deals with dog houses. I thought that we sold tools, machines, and of course, wrenches. My concern is what kind of Japanese household can keep the two gigantic dog houses in their tiny apartment. They can live in the dog houses as their mobile summer home.

With those odd jobs for a week, I still have the angel of music waiting for me when I come back home. I simply set up the movie—finally I learned how to use the player—I sing “Think of Me” in both English and Japanese, and I gaze at the details of the phantom’s expression with a pillow gripped in my arms.

“Think of Me” is such a beautiful phrase. I would like to say it one time in my lifetime. But I do not know that I have the courage to say it to my phantom. As an excuse to be a poet, I can dream of him in my mind, can’t I? I think of him, but I won’t demand of him, “Think of me”. Maybe whisper it before I go to bed.

When I was young, I was happy that Christina ended up with Raul, but my thoughts have changed over the years. I understand that she kisses the phantom because he is her respected music master and she deeply sympathies with his feelings of loneliness. But she kisses twice! It is not just one casual farewell kiss, they kiss to feel their lips in front of Raul. She definitely thinks of the phantom until she dies after her marriage with Raul.

This obsession will keep me going until the dog houses will be delivered to the apartment in Japan and the two dogs—maybe human—start living in them. I pick up the phone call from the delivery service. It was a delivery confirmation and I asked his name—Raul.

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RHINO Poetry 2017 this Saturday, April 29, at The Book Stall

3 pm RHINO editors write poems-on-demand! Order a poem-to-go on any topic of your choice. RHINO editor-poets will compose a poen for you on the spot in ild school typewriters for a small donation to the magazine.

4-5 pm Featured reading by RHINO 2017 poets and editors. Copies of the new issue will also be on sale. Grab some RHINO swag--bookmarks and buttons and meet the editors and poets of this 40+ award-winning literary magazine.

Featured readers:

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…

Pre-Order "Mother Said, I Want Your Pain" Today!

"Mother Said, I Want Your Pain" (The winner of the Shared Dream Immigrant Contest, selected by Janine Joseph) will be available from Backbone Press (Spring 2018).

Of the collection, Janine Joseph writes:“I do not know/ if I am even right to be a mother at a right time,” discloses the speaker in the opening poem of Mother Said, “I Want Your Pain.” Evocative and startling in their unflinching clarity of image, these poems are inheritors of the aftermath of nuclear fallout and chemical warfare. They are tuned to the movement of transgenerational traumas. Grandmothers who “hid in a ditch with three horses” while B-29s shot bullets overhead, leave relatives who later ask of our bequeathed earth, “Is the land poisoned or not poisoned?” Here is a striking collection with a deft voice, poised even as it turns on or transcends an observation or emotion: “Grandfather watches TV on the highest volume,/ the howling-wind.”

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