Dehumanization incinerates both love and

Dehumanization incinerates both love and compassion

and in a blinding instant

A human being is rendered to carbonized charcoal

Another is vaporized on impact, torn from the fabric of existence in a single heartbeat

The only vestiges of them that remain are atomic bomb shadows,

Haunting, stark silhouettes of their lives that loom across concrete buildings and steps

There are no names, no faces, affiliated with these shadows

Because they were dehumanized during the war.

 

Each complexity was taken apart and reduced to a fundamental truth over and over again until there was almost nothing left.

Human

Japanese

Our enemy

“Jap”

Inhuman.

 

It’s only because flying over the pacific to Japan with intention to abruptly and cruelly end the gruelling war, was simplified to an array of mere movements, of steps

Open the cargo bay

Watch Little Boy drop in tense silence

Hopefully, it will work.

Hopefully, it will detonate, and our enemy will finally surrender and cripple beneath the whim of the bomb’s incredible and elusive power.

Empathy, human understanding, is incinerated the moment an atomic bomb is discovered in the pandora’s box of a new science and unleashed.

 

The scintillating, bright light pervades the sky,

blinding people as the prelude to the explosion.

The explosion rumbles like deep, growling thunder, and suddenly everything is consumed by a thick, black cloud of radioactive material.

The violent gust of wind that follows blows outwards, changes direction, and blows back in again, unrelenting and powerful enough to shake the foundation of buildings and tear them up from the ground.

The radioactive burns are fervent enough to melt peoples’ skin off and leave it dangling from their arms,

so that when they stumble around aimlessly, they can only hold their arms up and wander like ghosts amid the desecration.

The invisible and equally as insidious radiation travels quietly and undetected into people, so deeply embedded it cannot be fully extracted,

Much like the prejudice and dehumanization and vengeance reminiscent of Pearl Harbor that was cultivated during the war.

Acid black rain falls along with the radioactive ash,

as if the world was turned upside down momentarily

and hell had descended upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The fires that were extinguished when the bomb dropped incessantly burned for days and weeks on end, leaving lingering tragedy in its wake

Along with irreversible scars.

 

Scars may be irreversible

And yet despite it,

Just a week ago, twenty Japanese girls departed from the Arcata airport

After they were welcomed into numerous homes, including my own

During the two weeks they were here,

They were not inhuman

They were not “Japs”

And they were not our enemies.

They were our friends

And they were human.

Love incinerates the darkness,

And in a blinding, beautiful instant,

It prevails.

 
This poem is about: 
My country
Our world

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