Volume Three, Issue 4

K.L. Fujiwara

Unhallowed (Bits of Gold)

They said I was a miracle child
born without the ability to see color –
the lottery winner of disability.

They didn’t include the kids at school
whisper-giggling the bitch can’t see
when I could hear fine and knew otherwise.

So I read, the black and white limits
of my optic nerve immune
to the tricks of color,

the whims of the rainbow.
My aunt said the world was losing
its sheen, everything graying in anyway

with smoke and ash and the rising salt sea.
The way she said it sounded like a sad song
so when she moved her lips

I nodded along.           Until the day at the high tower
when the glass panels rippled against the cold
and like a magic trick, bits of gold

showered down. It was unhallowed,
but it felt holy and true. Holding my breath,
I became afraid to close my eyes.


In the presidio
stands a glass wall
with names printed
a more passive tagging, these
Prisoners of a country
with broken men
barking executive orders
corralling innocents
onto racetracks
like livestock
like chattel
robbing them
                                       of everything

Etched in black print
the white man’s mistakes
the barren landscapes
made into makeshift homes
yes-yes to survival
in spite
                                       of everything

We find it
She was taken to three camps
Tule Lake among them
but this isn’t some clerical error
an American name
whitewashed to fit in a pen
some white man’s idea
                                       of a Japanese name

Barbs upon barbed wire
14 years old
as if high school
and adolescence
and a mother taken by tuberculosis
wasn’t already challenging enough

She once told me
She wasn’t mad
it was just camp

I didn’t understand then
and English has no equivalent

sometimes I think I carry the anger
She wasn’t allowed to show
but the world doesn’t work like that

lately I’ve been wondering
is the Alzheimer’s a blessing
             to forget?
                                       but She still remembers

K.L. Fujiwara: "I keep chasing after words. Parts of the East and West Coasts are home."

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