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The Standing Boy of Nagasaki

“Years later, many years later, the nightmares began...”

-Joe O'Donnell, military photographer

of the occupation forces

At the edge of the cremation pit

the boy waits as if

at attention for men in white

to loosen the rope

that binds his lifeless

infant brother to his back.

The boy stares into smoke and ash,

his eyes reveal

what anyone might imagine –

how far, how long

this journey, the heat

of that pit. The boy

turning, then walking away.

What might happen

later. Any bearable aftermath.


Michael Carrino holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. He is a retired English lecturer at the SUNY Plattsburgh, where he was co-founder/poetry editor of the Saranac Review. His publications include Some Rescues (New Poets Series, Inc.), Under This Combustible Sky (Mellen Poetry Press), Café Sonata (Brown Pepper Press), Autumn’s Return to the Maple Pavilion (Conestoga Press), By Available Light (Guernica Editions), Always Close, Forever Careless (Kelsay Books), and Until I’ve Forgotten, Until I’m Stunned (Kelsay Books) as well as individual poems in numerous journals and reviews.


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