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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.

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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…