3 Poems by Kate Fujimoto


Mt. St. Helens

 

My brother stole a car and drove me to Mt. St. Helens

where geologists cough up ash and cinder and their own blood

trying to prove that all mountains

have roots.

I’ll believe them, I tell my brother that St. Helens

wears her guts on the outside – like he does

grey and green and angry, his grin

an empty stomach, his voice a portrait

of young criminal courage.

My brother

the highwayman – disowned, permanently

estranged. Our parents say he’s always been rotten

at the core, but could they prove it? They taught me not

to trust anything ill-supported, and anyway, I ride

shotgun in his hotwired cars, smoke his cigarettes

secondhand, I cough up all sorts of

electromagnetic, radioactive, pyroclastic plumes

hot air and molten rock

and when we stop to look up at the mountain –

open-mouthed –

I know better than to say anything.

 

______________

Birds

 

The house I left in August

is nothing

but a death-trap for birds.

They break their necks against

the windows my mother feverishly polishes in November.

They die quietly in the backyard.

I once found three tiny, screaming chicks

in the gutter under the mailbox.

I was twelve which meant

elbows like table-corners

legs that bent like jewelry-wire –

my mother’s bones

hollow like a bird’s.

They died in the garage,

nestled in Wednesday’s newsprint,

under a warm light

and my sister’s steadfast scrutiny.

Their bright, black, glass-bead eyes

were half-open

when I brushed away the ants

that were trying to eat their feet.

 

______________

To The Sea, The Sea of Mud

 

After they drained

the reservoir under the highway,

we found a sea of mud.

He called it a giant’s thumbprint.

God, aren’t we

small?

Still wearing

clean clothes from work,

I pointed to a place in the center

where water still sadly pooled.

 

I want to go there, I said.

___________________________

Kate Fujimoto grew up in Hawaii and studies English in Washington. She is sometimes hungry. She makes music here (kateofkate.bandcamp.com). People say she dresses like a grandmother.