August 6, 1946

Jalina Mhyana


Dedicated to the Hibakusha

There's a grave

for my mother at Hiroshima

Where you can still see

victims' shadows printed

On the ground where they burned

Like photograms, or old-fashioned

Silhouette paintings


Survivors write letters of condolence

To victims at Auswitch -

People marked with numbers.

Women who wore kimono on that day

still have the flowered designs

photographed onto their aged flesh

branding them Japanese


That fall my father moved us

To the country

Where people didn't ask about

My thin hair or the crimson spotting

Of my arms and face


Today, August 6, 1946,

the first anniversary

Of my mother's passing,

I pick branches from the cherry blossom tree

In our yard - the blossoms

have since retired for the year

But they were my mother's favorite


Reaching high for each branch,

The sun on my back,

I am face to face with my own shadow

As it twists and grabs,

wrestles with the branches -

beasts with many arms dancing

Against the tree trunk

This silhouette with arms

Reaching for the tree -

An anonymous version of myself,

could be anyone at any moment -

A child catching a ball overhead,

a father throwing his baby in the air,

or my mother hailing the bus

that never brought her home to me

the day her shadow outlived her.


© Jalina Mhyana


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