Recounting Days After the Ukraine Accident in 1986


On the seventh day it rained―
a little drizzle, with an indelible smell
of snuffed candles. A droplet fell
on my elbow and gave goose-bumps, the kind

I thought I’d never seen.
                                 For six days
it didn’t rain, and though the rain wasn’t
tarred like pitch of grief, I spent
several nights dreaming of my hair turn willowy

and fall in strands.
                     Just one drop
that slipped past the umbrella, one mistake
on the first day of half-sleeve:   it evoked
the sunflower summer warped

into monochromic rubbles.
                               There I’d learned
that when skins unpeel, even the most beautiful
of the faces are cranium and a mass of muscle―
I was eight, and after that, for days, I couldn’t

look at the girl who lived next door.
                                           The goose-skin
ended just as chicken-pox did―no way
would the ash-clouds have carried this far―though
I still smell snuffed-candles whenever it rains.

Toshiaki Komura