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For Those Who Pray for Peace

Keiko Inokuchi (maiden name, Yoshioka)
14th Graduating Class of Hiroshima Jogakuin High School Residing in Higashi-hiroshima City

I squat in my yard to pull out the summer weeds, still wet from rain
Suddenly our eyes meet, Daisy-Fleabane
--- It's those eyes

In the corner of the Kanon grade school there was a crumbled ruin
They say it used to be an auditorium
But nobody spoke of what happened there
Jagged metal beams stuck out of the ground
Hung and bent around the frame and into the hollow space
Grass grew in between the rubble like little slender legs
I picked up balls of melted glass found in the wreckage
And held them up against the blue breeze-like light
I buried them in the ground as my secret treasures
Bit by bit I brought celluloid Kewpie dolls and empty matchboxes
Spent my time there day after day
The wind blew and the white flowers nodded in unison
And danced -----
My childhood
Full of contradictions
(In the school yard the dead bodies were piled like mannequins and burned It was only recently that I heard that some children had to burn their parents)

Once the sun had set the day ended abruptly and darkness enveloped the houses
Father carried my youngest brother on his back
Mother took my other brother by his hand
As they walked ahead of me, relying on the fading light
The younger one sang " Riru, Riru, where are you Riru…"
And Father joined in… "Does anyone know where Riru went?"
I carried a washtub, a bar of soap clanking against it
And followed as fast as I could
I must not fall, I must walk straight, I must walk on my own
In a pool of light pouring out of a window
A sea of small buds floated up
I walked along in silence, shoulder to shoulder

O, the seeds that defended their lives desperately
When the sun froze at the moment of crucifixions

(Honorable Mention of the 15th Shizuo Ito Prize --- Revised Jan. 2005)