Joanne Monte


Eight-fifteen


(a.m.) the city
was split by lightning,
stripped down to bone, and tortured,
its flesh lashed by flames…

suddenly
I was beggared,
wearing the rags of loose skin,
hanging like pockets lined with blood.

I could not see
the earth's incinerator,
its volcanic madness, blinded by hair,
burnt darker than matchsticks
and dusted with soot,

but I could feel
the meltdown in my fingers
like soft beeswax, clasping each other
as though desperate lovers—
lovers in torment,
gnarled in the arms of war.

I had crawled
from among the dying,
the children curled like fetuses
in their mother's wombs, the unborn;

crawled from under the black rain
of suffering, the ill-smell of survival;

a disfigured hope
seen clutching the red-and-white hibiscus
from my mother's kimono
that became part of my flesh.


(Note: 8: 15 a.m., the time on August 6,1945 that the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.)

Submitted: Monday, May 31, 2004
Edited: Saturday, April 16, 2011

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