Hiroshima’s Secrets

Hiroshima’s Secrets

The ball in the air, a real ball,

the hand having tossed it,

the child where he knows

he shouldn’t be.

His mother would reprimand him

if only she knew also.

The groceries, the arms carrying them,

the money in her pocket

held back from her husband

who is hungry for her.

The bell on the bicycle,

under the thumb.

Feet, pedals, two wheels,

all spinning together.

Momentum, inertia,

the tire’s track unfurling.

The President understands

infamy as two-way street: action,

equal and opposite reaction.

The Emperor counts too.

The woman in the kitchen,

the sink’s steam rising.

The baby caught

between the inhalation and exhalation

of unbridled crying.

The knife in the butcher’s hands,

the flesh unflinching.

Then, an elegant pause.

Not the bomb dropping

but the plane lifting—and light.

Reprinted from Constituents of Matter by Anna Leahy, with permission of the author and grateful acknowledgment to Kent State University Press.

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