Thank You

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Friday the eleventh of March
she receives a phone-call from her cousin in Sendai
“Don’t worry
everyone is fine,” he says.
She feels cold air tie to her waist and thinks,
how many more cracks and breaks before it is all lost?
How dark red their blood
must pump now,
how those same cracks sent shock waves through her veins
over 65 years ago.
If earth
breaks bone faster than bomb.
If nuclear leaks are what paint her country’s land now,
if that land remembers how badly it stung the first time.

In the mouth of Isobe
August 6, 1945, my grandmother had just learned to trust
The morning of her first period,
she is soaked with two types of red.

In a pride of young girls
she was training to be a warrior,
in case of land invasion.
Learning to pounce on
white-skinned prey
sink her teeth in and see
that American soldier tastes so nuclear.

Hiroshima shattered,
she never knew anything could split that sharp.
Her childhood was sliced, cracks climbed through her.

All she knew was dust
Her skin was dust,
Her lungs filling with dust.

She was hitting ground and
blending with soil
Holding all her family’s red in her stomach.

The heat gave her madness
caught her in the boiling jaw of pain
and watched her be chewed and bitten
until the dirt wore her cries
as battle scars.

She ate ants for breakfast and thought
maybe they would have thanked her.
To never see swarm or grind again
to have a home once more.

Maybe I won’t wake tomorrow
She thought,
Maybe I will be broken and never know what it’s like
To remember this shatter
Feel these wounds digging deeper,
Maybe these scars will strangle me in my sleep.

She tells her cousin on Friday morning
8.9 is just a number
and numbers have no end
he has no end
and she remembers what that’s like.
She tells him earth will carry his faults in it’s belly
He’ll never need to see his lost home
Hers is somewhere under the grit and sweat of Japan
and with all her cuts healed she will unearth it
and see that it is just as red as she remembers.

Every year on August 6th, she pours herself
a glass of wine, for remembrance,
Holds the shell head to her lips,
Thanking it for never ticking or burning,
Thanking Hiroshima,
Thanking the bomb,
Thanking this day,
Thanking the taste of alcohol,
She will never know what white soldier tastes like
Thank you she says, thank you.





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