La Po Wing never saw a thing, but
La Po Wing wandered about his city
with blind eyes and took in the sites.
Wing went to Toyama and tasted
okonomiyaki and listened
to children’s toys roll on tables.
In the romance of limitless aural pleasure,
La Po could hear flowers’ stems bend in the wind,
and feel his fray grey hair shiver in the breeze.
La knew where rain drops would splatter;
La could count the number of new childbirths—cry by cry
he heard shoelaces tie, and lingerie stretch.
Po heard birds sing and crickets creep in grass.
Po heard bad choirs practicing for miles beyond his drums,
but still La Po Wing couldn’t see a thing.
Ujina Port’s military loaded and locked
and sparked and ticked and tocked for war.
La Po Wing winched at the sound of war chimes, so
La Po hitched to the Urakami Valley;
La Po stood in a pumpkin field,
where seeds explode and bloom fruits.
La Po Wing heard propellers; the whistle of metal among clouds.
La Po Wing heard the sounds of atoms smashing his city.
The Valley encased La Po Wing and his frail frame.
The sweet orange seeds splattered and the
blast cleared the field of its fruit.
La Po Wing didn’t see a thing.
La Po Wing didn’t see the woman,
who had gazed into War’s light,
it charred the bulbs in her eye sockets.
Her gold tooth stuck smug in her jaw;
there in the dirt, with battered pumpkins
sat her head, it had flown from miles away—
La Po Wing didn’t see a thing,
just felt the radiation tingling.