Mother & Son as Oyakodon IV

Michael Frazier

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?

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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. His poems appear, or are forthcoming, in The Offing, Cream City Review, RHINO, Tokyo Poetry Journal, Visible Poetry Project, & elsewhere. He’s received fellowships & residencies from Callaloo, The Watering Hole, The Seventh Wave, & Brooklyn Poets. His poetry has been awarded the Tinderbox’s 2020 Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Poetry Prize & Pushcart Prize nominations. Now, he’s reading poems for The Adroit Journal & working on a poetry collection about his mother & oyakodon. He’s uber passionate about anime, poetry, and the power of Christ to change lives!

Message @fraziermichael to join his biweekly zoom poetry book club!

Vol. 6, Issue 6

Hannah Dow

Poetry Editors
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Emily Wolahan

Tinderbox Poetry Journal has been the original home of poems appearing in Best of the Net, Best New Poets, and Bettering American Poetry anthologies.

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