Rest House

I took a moment to breathe   I had to steal it  

I took the skeletal remains
into the air

conditioning where
36 people died  

white kimonos burned   like new year’s paper  

I took a breath   I stole a breath  

I took a drink of ion supply  

That’ll cure you That’ll cure your melancholy

the unending rhythm of walking the narrow path

that brings you to the house of translucent ants

and vines growing through the glass

I took my time   walking around
the abandoned, blown out house

where the mushroom cloud climbed

to heaven   reluctantly  

Brandon Shimoda is a yonsei poet/writer, and the author of eight books of poetry and prose. He is also the curator of the Hiroshima Library, an itinerant reading room/collection of books on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.