A Child Hibakusha — Hiroshima 1946
When my hair began falling out, my mother got down on her knees and picked up one hair at a time. My hair was everywhere- under the hospital bed, inside my sleeves, on the white wall.
My mother would sweep the floor, press my hair into a black ball between her hands
and put it inside her apron’s pocket. Even after I became bald, the hairs continued to well up
like spring water in the mountain. When the wind came through the window,
my hairs moved like worms on the wet ground. This morning, my hair was inside my mother’s
noodle soup. She filled her mouth with my hair and noodles and
swallowed them all at once.
My brother pushed my swing, and I went up high.
When I came down and passed him, he said he could see the top
of my head, bare, full, and smooth like the belly
of a pregnant woman.
Thousands of pieces
of glass flew into my grandmother’s head
like bees into a hive.
After she lost all of her hair, she died.
Inside the coffin, my grandmother’s head shone
as if the stars were buried underneath her skin.
River, I’m going to die soon. My grandmother, Cousin Toshi and Mrs. Kamata in the next
village all died when they lost their hair.
You keep moving onto the next village, to the ocean and to the rivers in another country.
It would take you one hundred years to come back to Hiroshima again.
You won’t find a bald girl like me.