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Nagoya, 1945

There was a Mitsubishi factory 

around the corner of Shrine Ave. 

It was surrounded by a tall 

concrete wall. My grandmother used to work 

in the enclosure 

sewing buttons on Japanese Naval uniforms.

When she did not have enough 

needle and thread, she glued them on the cloth.

She had already stayed 

there thirty three days.

There were new girls 

walking along the wall to work. 

Their cheeks were brown with suntanned skin. 

My grandmother explained 

how she found their bodies.

Their sleeves were caught by the barbed wire. 

The blocks collapsed on the heads and torsos.

There was no blood 

but their arms were black like coal.

My grandmother straddled 

downed power lines.

She crossed the burnt 

pumpkin field to a barber shop.

Behind it, 

her younger sister stood. 

Her hair was covered with glass and lice.

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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…