BITTER HOPES (The Tsunami, Sendai)

When ground beneath her desk rolled like
a carpet shaken of its dust, a terrifying
rollercoaster, Yuki screamed at
something unnamed and horrible

She thought, “This is IT…
The final moment, or the beginning of many
final moments”

Crawling out of her cubicle,
scenes burned their way into her memory
Ten minutes before, she and Hayashi had shared a cigarette
and a kiss in the stairwell
Now, he was pinned under a desk, eyes glazed;
a picture of their trip to Kanagawa
where they regarded the roses
had settling on his chest
Was this the last thing he saw? His last good memory?
She prayed it was so

Then came a blur of
walking nightmare people
bottled water
pictures posted with notes
questions without answers
Earthquake, tsunami, nuclear disaster

And of course, government downplayed the severity of radiation

She and Kenji commuted inland daily from their home in Sendai;
Father enjoyed the view of surf.
Why had Kenji taken the day off?
She knew now her brother was gone, as well as their parents,
swept from earth as waves wiped the chalkboard clean

Alone Safe Not safe Scared
A butterfly chose her at random to grace her
with a dizzying dance of color and life

“If only I had the mind of an insect,” she thought,
as bile rose in her throat
“At least butterflies hold the key to hope:
Live free for a season, surrender peacefully to death”

Her only hope was that the world see, and learn, what her grandmother
had told her, as she revealed flowered tattoos of her Nagasaki childhood:
Men’s greed and technology will never defeat the ferocity of nature

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Fireblossom at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads wanted stories of loss. I took the loss of others and, in so doing, resurrected an old poem, because the last line haunts me. This was originally written (and much wordier) in 2011, before Fukushima. Turns out technology doles out terror in equal quantities… that also includes the effects of global warming. And humankind’s terror is reversible, but that is not in sight right now…

Peace, Amy