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FALLOUT IKyoko Mori i. from FukuoL· to Kagoshima Bottom to top, blue fills the windowpane across the aisle as though our train rode on water. Where narrow strips of land interpose between the tracks and the sea, carp tails rise out of roof slates, turn into dragons or phoenixes. In our window, small houses crowd against the steep mountainside, stopping all that green from cascading down to sea in one sweep of eloquence. ii. Kagoshima Sakurajima stretches across the panelled windows of the restaurant, large as a close-up at an outdoor flick, a desperado with a smoking gun. While the young sip coffee on this fifth floor, eye-level to volcanic disaster, grandmothers walk past store displays below with umbrellas open to the mid-day sun. At their feet, white dust accumulates: witness to the dangers they've known. All week, ashes fall like memory on the statue of Saigo Takamori, a hero of sweet failures. 24 · The Missouri Review iti. Hiroshima In the Peace Memorial Park, umbrellas of school children blossom yellow, identical among rain-washed statues, thousand cranes gleaming like wet gladioli. Inside the museum, singed blouses guard the numerous shelves of displayable pain: glass pulled from burnt skin, yellowed toenails curved to the tip, watches precise on the fatal moment. Around the diorama of the city intact before the bomb, children point out the buildings that still remain near their houses. At eight or nine, how could they know that whole forests and villages have burnt since? Six hundred meters below the epicenter, the words engraved in stone promise that the mistake shall not be repeated but fail to say whether the mistake is the bomb or the War, or all war. Though we ask the dead to rest in peace, we gloss over the core of their tragedy: they have died for the wrong cause. We prefer to Kyoko Mori The Missouri Review · 25 see them like the rock turned partially to glass by the flash and made sadly beautiful— another sweet failure to mourn. The peace goddess is sick with mutation, her arms freeze in a bodhisattva greeting while her angel wings beat beneath the Hindu head-dress. God help us, someone's written in the museum guest book before me. What god can help us if we ride the waters of easy pain while the houses holding up the mountainside turn solemn under their burden? Kyoko Mori was born in Japan and is currently an associate professor at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin. She has published work in The Denver Quarterly, Kenyan Review and elsewhere. 26 · The Missouri Review Kyoko Mori ...


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