To Children Who Don't Know the Atomic Bomb
by Akiko Takakura
8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945,
a very clear morning.
The mother preparing her baby's milk,
the old man watering his potted plants,
the old woman offering flowers at her Buddhist altar,
the young boy eating breakfast,
the father starting work at his company,
the thousands walking to work on the street,
Not knowing an atomic bomb would be dropped,
they lived as usual.
Suddenly, a flash.
Just as they saw it,
people in houses were shoved over and smashed.
People walking on streets were blown away.
People were burned-faces, arms, legs-all over.
People were killed, all over
the city of Hiroshima
by a single bomb.
Those who died.
A hundred? No. A thousand? No. Ten thousand?
No, many, many more than that.
More people than we can count
Others suffered terrible burns,
Some were thrown so hard
their stomachs ripped open,
their spines broke.
Whole bodies filled with glass shards.
burned and tattered.
Fires came right after the explosion.
Hiroshima engulfed in flames.
Everyone fleeing, not knowing where
they were or where to go.
crying tears of anger and grief,
hair sticking up, looking like Ashura*,
they ran on broken glass, smashed roofs
along a long, wide road of fire.
Burned skin peeled and dangled.
Whirlwinds of fire raged here and there.
Hundreds, thousands of fire balls
whirled right at us.
It was hard to breathe in the flames,
hard to see in the smoke.
What will become of us?
Those who survived, injured and burned,
shouted, "Help! Help!" at the top of their lungs.
One woman walking on the road
died and then
her fingers burned,
a blue flame shortening them like candles,
a gray liquid trickling down her palms
and dripping to the ground.
Whose fingers were those?
More than 50 years later,
I remember that blue flame,
and my heart nearly bursts