Landing at Hiroshima Airport

grayscale photo of airplane

Photo by Samarth Singhai on


In the avalanche of cumulus

ten thousand feet over Hiroshima

I saw them in the foothills floating as rain.

The clouds were like poems burning at the edges,

the tiger-eyed sun was not itself fading into better stars.


Nine thousand feet up at night we descended in breaths,

I felt the boys last gasp as he fell apart like plasticine,

the umbrella makers scream as the tyres hit tarmac.

nine thousand feet up I watched it all unfold

like wings of a wounded crane.


Three thousand feet up the homes resembled baubles

and streets were a bleak tinsel, then mountain black.

I have dreamt of this place so many times

and used to sleep with the light on

but now I’m awake in darkness.


In Hiroshima no one writes poems about trivial things,

they have seen worlds end on every street

they have walked bones in buckets,

they have found them in trees

red ribbons tied to scalps.


In Hiroshima a student guided me home when I was lost,

her pumps were gum-grey with a scuff of fresh blood.

She walked me to the breasted ground of bodies,

it was there I suckled air deep into my lungs,

so deep I drew a fly that I swallowed like black rain.




2 Responses to “Landing at Hiroshima Airport”

  1. I read this poem and imagine that dreadful bomb descending. I wonder what it would say on its way down. It is no surprise that no one writes trivial poems in Hiroshima. We should keep our eyes open
    and avoid the trivial preoccupations of our all too often bland lines and write the poetry which existence demands – as this poem does. The taste of iron in the blood is always there in your words; the avalanche of truth cascading down thousands of feet.

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