Bomb Day

(for RDS)

In my family December 7 was celebrated as my grandparents’
wedding anniversary, 1921, long before most Americans
had heard of Pearl Harbor, before bombs whistled
from the sky, unleashing unholy destruction upon
far too many across the planet, ending with unspeakable
acts that decimated cities full of people going about
their business, loving, living their lives.

As a child I saw photos of the aftermath—sunken ships
in Hawaii, London rubble, Germany destroyed,
skeletal survivors, the ghostly image on concrete
of one person incinerated in Hiroshima.
Who was foe? Who was friend? In the words
of my father, who killed and was nearly killed
in Korea in a conflict that was not his:
“You can’t imagine.”

But I did and I do, on this day heavy with memory.
I conjure an image of that young and slender
couple, Ed and Ann, marrying that winter in a tiny
church outside Chicago. I put snow on the ground,
her in a wool coat with fur collar, wishing her
dead mother was there, hoping her father would
arrive sober to give her away. And I see her groom,
tall and strong, neither of them having a glimmer
of what would bless them—two children,
four granddaughters, 
a half-century marriage—
and what would pursue 
them, scar them—
the Depression, the second 
world war,
the son sent to Korea and returned
forever wounded.

Now I, the third granddaughter, see you,
someone else’s hoped-for son, born under the shadow
of that world war, decades later, on this same day
near the end of the same century. We sit in a car
parked by a levee on a frosty winter night.
You tell me you love me, a different kind of bomb.
I feel the heat of that explosion, one that will upend
my world, change the course of our lives, bring
us together, tear us apart and put us back together.
You can’t imagine, I think now, what comes
of a love like that, of old wounds, of misdirections.
You can’t say thank you enough.

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About janishaag

Writer, writing teacher, editor
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6 Responses to Bomb Day

  1. Oh, Jan, what a stunning piece of writing. Moved me to tears. Absolutely beautiful.

  2. hilarywith1L says:

    Thank you for this, dear Jan! of old wounds, of misdirections. Love that phrase so much! xo

    _____

  3. janishaag says:

    Thanks, Hil… those phrases, though, to be accurate, came from the prompt poem today, Pesha Gertler’s “The Healing Time.” I need to acknowledge that!

  4. Donna Just says:

    Nicely done Jan! DG

  5. ltownsdin says:

    Wow. Your writing zaps me in the heart every time. Thanks for posting.

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