Nagasaki Crows

"It          remains possible to believe there was          nothing anyone could do about the          melted bottles, burnt coins etc ... as for the corpses          lying in the streets and wreckage of          Nagasaki, we tend to forget how the          body resists history; we pretend that Koreans          look different, or that          victims are all the same, even when they remained          silent, we could hear their voices, scattered          across the unbelievably blue sky, hanging in          trees, or from twisted crosses, populating the          horror invisibly, keeping time, giving ruins          a human aspect, a curtain of dead flesh longer          than a shroud, sadder than          silent bells, more dignified than any          surrender, never to be buried like the others.       One          day we shall know their names, the reason          for their being there, that morning. Death is          just another criminal, an adversary that          does not need a motive, although          we may wish to assign it one. The many          cries, the stunned desolation of this Japanese          port town in the moonlight - its people          scattered like broken glass. Even the walls that survived          bear shadows like execution drawings, and inside the          museum, the pathetic legacy of atomic          testing around the world lingers. We`re still bombing,          while they sue for peace. Of course, it`s very          hard to know who suffered the most. Was it the few          who remained to bear witness, or the Koreans          who disappeared? It`s hard to know what exactly survived. There          among the dead horses and railway girders, was          an abandonment of sanity, from which nothing          could be salvaged, despite the crows we          saw circling in the blood red skies. After this, could          anything grow from evil? There was nothing left to do. Crows          are sacred in many cultures. That morning, as they flew          about, making their raids, we sat with our heads down          between shame and annihilation. Meaning existed in          their grim and tidy circles, their flexing flocks          and dusted beaks. They grew fat and sick from          the flesh of the Koreans. We watched the          dim carnival play itself out, while the sky          burned into stillness and          the shrieks grew faint. Scarily, we ate          rice cakes sent from surrounding towns, as the          rare medics wandered about dispensing water. Our eyeballs          remained fixed in a groundward stare. Out of          nowhere, the crows came again, seeking the          remains, the plastic souls of those Korean          dead with no names. They were no longer simply corpses. They          became ghosts that haunt our city still. We ate          rice cakes that may or may not have carried the          radiation. Meanwhile, the crows continued eating those poor Korean eyeballs.* *"Chrysanthemum and Nagasaki", Michiko Ishimure


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