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Sunday, August 09, 2015


by Frederick Shiels 

Source: Yamahata photographs © Shogo Yamahata, The Day After the Nagasaki Bombing. The Japan Peace Museum via Morningside Center

Honorable Americans:
​there are not many of us left who were there,​
​to remind you that seventy August 9ths ago
you finished your war job
and 75,000 of our lives on green Kyushu island
three days and three mourning hours after killing even more--
Who knows how many?--
on big Honshu to the north, you ​well ​know ​the name,
Hiroshima, you teach it in your schools.
To be sure, we are linked with ​her​
​our  second, final​, high
superheated mushroom of death
​​Y​our Mr. Truman
didn’t give a speech about Us, we guess he just left
our boiling harbor, our children’s ashes
floating down
like leaves
for days,
to work things out
for themselves.​

Frederick Shiels teaches American foreign policy and history at Mercy College in New York. He has published in Sixfold, The New Verse News, The Hudson River Anthology, and elsewhere. He lived with his family on Kyushu Island, Japan, as a Fulbright Scholar, in 1985, the fortieth anniversary year of the bombing of Nagasaki, not far south. He is the author of a book of foreign policy case studies Preventable Disasters (Rowman & Littlefield) among others.