Hiroshima

Jacob Pritchett

The sun rises fiercely today, 

sends ripples across lazy clouds. 

Birds and sky melt into one 

spectacular blaze, 

vermillion velvet,  

iron from a cosmic forge, 

the world sears.  

 

A carpenter gazes skyward, 

his ladder leaning 

just next to him,  

wondering if he’ll make it 

to the top 

before noon.  

 

A schoolgirl jumps 

rope tied to a hydrant 

until she thirsts for water.  

her skin thirsts for water,  

yet her shadow jumps rope. 

 

A sow wanders the street 

wondering for the first time 

where she is 

in the human city,  

so brilliant,  

so hot.  

 

A man sits on stone steps 

and watches his world shine 

like it never has before.  

What stars would dare 

challenge ours? 

Its perpetual fusion 

screams across the dry abyss, 

its voice lost in a vacuum.  

 

But this dawn roared, 

like the sun could scream. 

Finally 

after billions of years 

spent suffocating.  

 

And somewhere overhead 

in the turbulent sea of sky, 

a plane glints in the dawn’s 

dying rays, 

leaving mere shadows 

behind its swelling contrails. 

Spring 2022