Shadows of Hiroshima

you lie down in the artist’s trance
translating your selves onto pavement
assuming annihilation

with coloured chalk
you vaporize yourselves
leaving reminders for the dawn

sidewalks strewn with auras
around the disappeared

two-dimensional ghosts
prostrate before invisible firestorms

mundane activity obliterated
for a pantheon of shadows

the lost child
the short walk
the blasted briefcase

the muted dove in pieces

clouds of radon
around a vanishing fraction

this one went around the corner and
never was seen again

here she held the child’s hand
as they stepped out the door
into a subatomic future

this one ran off to a school
that no longer exists

here is the gesture of
someone departing on a train
that will never arrive

this is the trail of a runner
who lost the race

she stared too long

he left only his choreography

you transform yourselves into emblems

your bodies circumscribed

you make yourselves a mystery
but you are not yet gone

you come back the next day
and your shadows have been washed away with the rain

The Shadow Project refers to the description of what happened when the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. According to Helen Caldicott, MD, “Because the human body is composed mostly of water, it turns into gas when exposed to thousands of degrees Celsius. When the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945… there was a blinding flash, and [a little boy reaching to catch a red dragonfly] disappeared leaving only the shadow of his body on the pavement behind him.” The Shadow Project attempts to replicate this powerful image in order to remind the public of the horrors of a nuclear war.


About Nicholas Power

The poetry of Nicholas Power and his reviews of singular poems in a sequence titled Cadence.
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