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Colleen Webster
August 9

Moonlit waters almost make me forget
today's anniversary.  But a woman's dress

printed with white cranes mushrooms
my memory and for the rest of the night

I marvel at the ease of the Japanese
moving among our milk-pale faces.

When we destroyed Hiroshima
perhaps forgiveness was a flicker

on a far horizon, but how,
three days later, after Nagasaki

smoked and burned, was that light
in the distance still alive?  How

could the flame of connection
still ignite their daily movements,

change passing from palm to palm
in the laundromats, carry-outs,

bags shaken open for fruit
from the vendors?  I cannot

even stumble out of my grudges,
my stubborn grip on revenge.

Until I learn to close my eyes, see
gray-ash fire rippling out from a blossom,

breathe quick in the heat, tell
myself to let go, unclench

these fifty years.  In this light
I do solitary penance, smell

the scalded scars still smoldering.