3 Poems by Kate Fujimoto

Nov 16 2011

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.





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


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.

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