Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 3



K.L. Fujiwara


Quarantine Coloring

Even in this time of mass boredom
I have no task for the white colored pencil.




The heart is a fist

The heart is a fist
if you’re lucky
you have 4 fingers
and a thumb
that’s all you get
that’s what can break
that’s what stands between you and heartache




Rising We Survive

The government peddles destiny as history
handing out promises like shiny glass beads.

Empty words from white men hollow
as a silent drumbeat. Foreign shapes

painting caution like the darkest berry
to stain a cheek. Recall

specious blankets cut with disease.

Bleached buffalo skulls
blacking out the sun.

Harsh cold Indian school days
withholding nourishment. Our

lands enclosed, penned. Surrounded,
borders lie unnatural lines. Wounded,

rising face the storm to sing we survive.




Gardener of Grudges

Sown with a stubborn mind
He spits seedlings
Into the ripe ground.

Some will steep ceaselessly
Climbing shadows
As old growth monsters.

Others will wither, as
Hidden barbs reap
Bloody bouquet husks.

Flora unforgiven,
held to tend the feeling.




Saying Goodbye

There is no point in trying to find an explanation
for death’s timing and yet I wonder. Two days
of off and on rain – a deluge, high surf
advisories and flash flood warnings – a sky full
of tears.
Being told to call or text while winding through
the grapevine to LA. A blessing it became when
news fell the next day.
So bizarre – circling the drain of grief, trying to
compose a final thank you amidst traffic. Then road
rage and a Texan talking about whiskey and
airplanes.
Still a few hours from the destination. Thoughts
heavy and dark like the horizon’s cumulonimbus clouds.
Life is beyond strange.




Memorectomy Ad

Page the surgeon to cut out these bad memories
Incise the cerebrum, excise the tumor, one’s enemies
Metastasizing lipoma, of course technically benign
But the body fights foreign bodies in kind.
Prepare to recall your great-so-and-so’s face
Part of the paid upgrade: activated neuron space.
Operation risks explained, consent signed here
Life with a few less stories? You’ll persevere
Your mind deep like the ocean, full of trash particles
Now onto final checklist, there goes the cortisol
Time to tidy up the place, get you a beautiful brain
Hold onto only what sparks joy, per the Kondo phrase.



K.L. Fujiwara: "I am sheltering in place and trying to focus."




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