Natural Bridge -- Accepted!

Natural Bridge is accepted two poems! Yes!


after Japan, 3/11/2011

I type numbers and sit in a black
chair for eight hours. Glass cloth
covers my eyes. Cold
sand fills my bones. A graveyard

on the hill is burning.

After the earthquake, a fisherman
runs to the fire. He carries
a clarinet and yells to me,

What else do you want?

My eyelids are sealed like wax stamps.
A tsunami pushes the flaming tombstones and boats.

Under the white moon, the fisherman
plays a clarinet concerto. He vibrates
the reed. In the ocean breeze, he inhales
human dust. I open

my eyes. I want


and then more lights.


Because I’m from Fukushima, I say, I’m not / radioactive, and eat / seaweed salad from a bowl. You / hold my hands as we share these long / silences. Because / I’m a Buddhist, I recite, Namu-amida-butsu, at noon / over lunch, and very late at night. But I don’t pray for the Japanese. I pray / for myself because I crave / a word. I want it to avalanche into my eyes / like a kaleidoscope for the dead, but the sky / glares as usual because I’m so / often lost in this foreign / grey. I take my two fingers and push / them into my breasts. I say, If I / die with cancer, for example? You rub / my left breast. My brown / nipples are so cold at 2:30 A.M.

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