I wasn’t there, so I must use language.
On a bed as white as fresh cooked rice, my mother lays alone. Doctors and nurses mill around the room saying, sciatic nerve, blood clot, unilateral paresis—they settle on undiagnosable. My mother says, Don’t give me no medicine. Don’t y’all know how to pray? He is preying on your mother, pastor warns. A woman who can see visions in her dreams, best believe the Enemy wants her culled. She hadn’t called for 3 days. Palpitations in my chest, something was up. The full moon is an Excedrin without water. 1 sheep. No sheep. Finally fall asleep to ASMR, wake to commercials asking どっかいきたくない？I have google flight alerts for NYC. I have a savings and it’s dying to be spent. I oil my face, between my cornrows; rub the ashy from between my fingers; sing Sometimes I Feel Like a [ ] Child. She texts, Don’t worry, just war. I wear worry like acne. When we FaceTime, she asks, Ain’t I supposed to be the one sick?
Michael Frazier is a poet & educator based in central Japan. He graduated from NYU, where he was the 2017 poet commencement speaker & a co-champion of CUPSI. He’s performed at Nuyorican Poets Café, Lincoln Center, Gallatin Arts Festival, among other venues. His poems appear, or are forthcoming, in The Offing, Cream City Review, RHINO, Tokyo Poetry Journal, Visible Poetry Project, & elsewhere. His writing has been supported by Callaloo, The Watering Hole, The Seventh Wave, & Brooklyn Poets. A recipient of Pushcart Prize nominations, he currently is a staff reader for The Adroit Journal & curator for Button Poetry. He’s working on a poetry collection about oyakodon & his mother, & can talk for days about anime, poetry, and how Christ has changed his life. Follow @fraziermichael