Hiroshima Memorial- Goodnight Aunt Shigeko

It’s nearing August 7, and what more relevant and appropriate topic is there than the Hiroshima memorial ceremonies that happened across Japan, the U.S., and the world today? My apologies in advance for the dark nature and reality of the subject matter.

Here is a poem I wrote when I was a teenager, then revised as a young adult, accompanied by a stunning visual from the Hiroshima Memorial in Japan (see above), a photo I took during my visit there with family in 2005. This is also a personal memorial as my own Aunt Shigeko’s life was taken from the long term affects of radiation and died before I had a chance to get to know her (mom of course, knew her so much better than I):

Goodbye Hiroshima; Goodnight Aunt Shigeko

The solitary ding of a wind chime’s bell resonates

By the pull of an incessant morning breeze.

The artificial wind slips through room walls,

Through arms and bodies; passes from and through blinded eyes instantaneously.

It whistles a note a few octaves higher, much higher

Than the Liberty Bell that resounds over wheat fields

Along waves across the Pacific

And into pulsating Blood lines of an isolated island nation this August 7 evening.

The Cloud spreads wide, and true air dissipates,

sucked into a black- hole- like vortex of toxic power and energy.

Bodies dissolve in a flash of blinding light and

Caste indelible shadows on memorial walls.

As the sun evanesces, the breeze feeds a blaze

that glows much greater than the largest sunspot

on the Rising Sun, seething over ancient rice fields

to the pounding beat of taiko drums from distant hills

onto hands raised high to ease the sun’s radiance.

She bows low to touch the parched earth

Amid the swirling ashes of friend and foe which

Rise and glitter in a surreal anti- Amakudari.

Goodnight Shigeko- obasan.