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Saturday, 6 August 2011

Sky of Hiroshima by Yukiko Hayashi

That night I slept in the open
The next morning, I finally made it to the shelter
But only my father was there
Mommy and You-chan died....

The August sun

Was shining brilliantly on the Yahata River before us

Oblivious to our weeping

The next day

Father, with an empty candy box hanging down

And I, with a hoe upon my shoulder

Walked slowly

To burnt-out Hiroshima

The Hiroshima we finally reached was filled

With the smell of burning flesh

The smell of bodies being cremated was the same

Almost identical

To the smell of sanma cooking

Crossing the burnt iron bridge

Daddy and I, staggering

See more corpses now than yesterday

Exposed to the midsummer heat

Bodies swollen

Internal organs laid bare

Intestines whirled around

Making dim sounds

Oozing darkish yellow fluid

From noses, from mouths, from ears

From the darkness where eyes

Have run forth from their sockets


I can see the old stone wall

The remains of my dear house...

In the well, a half-burnt kitchen


Hangs floating

On a spot of ground that used to be the kitchen

An iron pot lies tumbled on its side

Bits of pumpkin, from the makeshift meal I ate on the morning of the 6th

Burnt and stuck to its sides

I pull with my hoe at the pile of rubble that was our roof

And a single tile slides down, clattering to the ground

Daddy squats down, and digs with his hands

Suddenly, his voice weak with exhaustion, he points

I throw the hoe aside

And dig at the spot with my hands

The tiles have grown warm in the sun

And we dig

With a grim and quiet intent


Mommy’s bone


When I squeezed it

White powder danced in the wind

Mommy’s bone

When I put it in my mouth

Tasted lonely

The unbearable sorrow

Began to rise in my father and I

Left alone

Screaming, and picking up bones

And putting them into the candy box

Where they made a rustle

My little brother was right beside my mommy

Little more than a skeleton

His insides, not burnt out completely

Lay exposed

Stuck with bits of cotton

From the futon

"I want to die!"

Daddy cried out

Hugging my brother’s organs to his breast

He wept

In the burnt and shattered ruins, iron pipes stuck


And the water splashed up like a fountain

Like a single life left untouched

Bathed in sunshine


Fetched the water in a cracked tea cup

And put it down in front of my brother’s remains

Father took out the distributed crackers

And then I

Had to shut my eyes

For daddy

Could do no more

Hearing only

The voices of two

Buried alive

After awhile

On my daddy’s once flawless body

Spots began to spread

Daddy, with no hope to live


Felt pity for me

Who would be left alone

And he forced his throat to accept

The food he did not want

"I’d love to eat some grapes," he said

"Please be patient with cucumbers," I replied

It was the morning of September 1st

I squeezed some cucumbers

Added some sugar

And made juice

Daddy looked at me

Saying that he felt like coming back to life

And laughed, although his voice was so weak

It sounded like crying

Suddenly, from nowhere

He looked upon the empty sky and said

"The wind is terrible. The storm will come..."

"...the storm."

He took a deep breath


And was still

Not even a month had passed

And I

Was alone

My body without focus

After all the tears had run out

Staring at the river

Running in front of me

I saw

Beautiful and clean

The blue sky

Of Hiroshima