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Comment: First published version
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                        Nagasaki photos

 

 

My love, allow yourself to stall, just a little,

            then enter the collection

 

                        of black and white victims.

                                    Like inkblots

                                         they await your reply.                        

           

            Focus. I’m holding your hand.

                                                Their shadows

 

                                                on bridges and walls

                                    stop at 11:02

           

                           like interrupted sundials.

                                                That, at least, you can respond to.

 

            You’ll never make sense of rubble.

                                    The raw body proves difficult Braille.

                        Illness you can fathom,

                        with its slippers scuffing along a glassy hall.

                                                But can you feel it?

 

A kimono pattern imparted to the wearer’s skin.

 

Beloved, you’ve been carefully trained

                        (do you sense your resistance?).

 

                                    Meaning is lost

            between the vulnerable eye

                                                and well-defended mind.

 

Who’s on your side (you keep asking)? 

                                    Not righteousness, not at this late hour?

 

            Look at you, unsure,

                              but sure underneath.

 

 

 

Kathleen Flenniken

 

This poem is included in the collection, Plume,

(University of Washington Press, 2012.)