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

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

Read poems about / on: mother, city, war, children, rain, hair, red, hope, child

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Comments about this poem (When We Haven't Said Goodbye by Joanne Monte )

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  • marvin brato (12/24/2013 6:25:00 PM)

    Amazing poetry...a revelation of the ugly side of life!

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Heather Wilkins (9/24/2013 2:51:00 PM)

    excellent poem. a terrible event.

  • Wahab Abdul (5/19/2013 11:03:00 PM)

    a fabulous poem with stunning words.. love it..

  • Patricia Grantham (4/29/2013 7:44:00 AM)

    A wonderful write. The ravages of war is never a good thing.
    Unfortunately it must happen sometimes to lead to peace.
    Great work in describing this event. I am most appreciative.

  • James B. Earley (7/21/2008 12:37:00 PM)

    Man's inhumanity to Man!

  • Jimi Doyle (6/1/2004 10:56:00 PM)

    i voted a ten...whoever voted nine must have been blinded by hair...beautiful poem thank you.

  • Deepak Amembal (6/1/2004 7:40:00 AM)

    heart wrenching....mind numbing......very evocative indeed

Read all 7 comments »

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