Sky of Hiroshima
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 sanmacooking

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

※ Sanma=A common and inexpensive edible fish
※ Futon=A thin, cotton-filled mattress
Source:Chiisana Inori/Choubunsha

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