The boy called “spineless” has a backbone
lost in the rubble of Hiroshima, his unfettered hands
pulling at maps and photographs.
With worn and radioactive identity, he knows
that the world is a veteran, sick of empathy
and can look massacre in the eye without blinking.
Hastily, people will cleanse themselves
of alpha particles and corpses
they did not touch.
History classrooms will suck the marrow of tragedy
unafflicted, passing Nagasaki
as another word in a textbook,
pointing at pictures, saying
That’s what you get
when you mess with America.
He does not blame them.
They have not seen for themselves
the crimson cloud inhaling his old home,
the cave of his mother’s mouth
swallowing the stolen decades.
They did not touch the ashes imprinted
on buildings, the black silhouettes of people
whose bodies burned into them;
did not put his father’s jacket
into the back closet
one last time.
Still, this rubble-spined boy
keeps firm the cast the world removed.
Across seventy years
and eight thousand miles,
(five inches on his map)
like a soldier's last wineglass:
a city wakes,
a sun still rises, time hauls forward
and bodies do not detonate
This nuclear child
of war’s relentless womb:
he croons and mumbles on reverence,
seeming all too unfelt.
To an ungrieving populace
he writes the postscript of war
on the back of his father’s portrait:
“Does nobody think that maybe, when a tree falls in the forest,
we’re all around to hear it
but we just don’t listen?”