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Showing posts from September, 2012

THE BEACH -- Accepted

"The Beach" was accepted by Emerge Literary Journal.

after the tsunami on 3/11/2011 

Grandmother packs dried 
persimmons in a plastic 
bag and walks to the beach. She writes 
Father’s name on a wooden 
stick when his body is buried 
in the sand. I trace 
the wrinkle around his mouth. My nails 
catch a million pieces of crushed 
shells. There are countless 
bodies along the shores. I see 
a picture of Father 
holding me, laughing, on his sixtieth 
birthday. Last February, 
he was here. We ate 
the persimmons together. 

Grandmother says she does not 
dream about him, so 
I don’t. Seagulls cry so 
hard by my ears. I  
remember the way he called 
my name. Before I rebuild 
his house, I will take him to a real 
graveyard. I will buy a lot of 
tombstones. His name 
will be engraved on them. 

Do you remember the neighbor’s yapping dog? 
It is dead too, so 
I will give it a small stone. I know 
Father will finally 
become holy, but I do not have 
a pillow. It would be too 
cold to sleep on the tombstone…


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.



An old lady comes from the dark  narrow living room and says, 
Welcome, Ms. Fujimoto.
I pay ten dollars and receive  chrysanthemums in an empty 
bucket. Over the hill,  I carry them to {your mother’s tombstone}1.
Tall granite reflects  the summer sun holding 
cinerary urns. There are no  trees, but cicadas are always 
loud. They are too loud. I almost  forget why {I am here}2. 
When I return the bucket,  the lady says, 
It will be {enough water}3 after sixty seven years.
And she gives me  {a bottle of soda}4.

***NOTE  1{Your mother’s tombstone} is in Yagoto, Nagoya. She passed away in 1945 after bombs detached her left leg. Her last words were “Could I have water?” 3{Enough water} is never enough, same as never enough God to make peace. 2{I am here} to pray for peace after World War II, but I worry about too many other things; such as how to pay rent ($1200/ a month) and electric bills for the hottest summer. 4{A bottle of soda} is refreshing like a clear August cloud—innocent. Is…