Look at me. I’m a kid. I’m six years old
And I’m walking with my mother, hand in hand
Down the streets, wondering what we will eat.
There hasn’t been much food recently,
There hasn’t been much of anything.
But my mother says we’re lucky.
It could be worse, she says.
I wonder what she means.
I wonder why my mother cries
When I ask about my father. Because he’s just away
On work, flying his plane.
Away, though, for a long time now
And he never writes
Because he is so far away.
I walk with my mother, hand in hand
And I look up at the sky. Someday
I should like to learn to fly a plane.
I wonder what it’s like to fly in the sky,
Instead of walking in the sun
Till my feet hurt. From up there the city
Will look like a toy, I think, the cars like dots
The people not seen at all.
How far can one see from up there?
Maybe all the way across the world
To China or America.
Someday I should fly a plane, like my father.
I want to tell my mother this, and I pull at her hand.
“You can do anything you want, sweetie,” she says,
“You’re young and the world is wide
You can do anything at all.”
She looks down at me and smiles, her smile flashing
Light flashing, light everywhere, a light within me
Burning glowing, light lifting me
Up, up into the sky
Until I am far above the town, looking down
At the streets the cars the people
And not seeing anything at all.
One does not see much
As vaporised ash in a mushroom cloud.
|"Hiroshima", watercolour on paper. B. Purkayastha, 2006|
Copyright B Purkayastha 2012