Poem: Pearl Harbor Day


Pearl Harbor

Seventy-Six years later it is still.
Only a few spurs of metal break the water.
Now and again, a drop of oil leaks to the surface still.

Voices grow quiet in this place of death and surprise,
this watery graveyard, first casualties of a long war.
It is as if we can hear their final breath, all these years later.

An attack, well planned, ill-conceived,
ignoring the law of unintended consequences that rules
every choice made and unmade, unaware of the ripples

through time and space, ripples that would rise, tsunami-like,
unaware, or worse perhaps, uncaring, not even considering
how this Sunday massacre would consume far more

than the twenty-four hundred and three corpses left behind,
how nations and worlds and civilizations would fall and rise,
how many tears would flow. How many hearts would be left,

not quite dead. Never healing.

This is the way of all battles. All cruelty. All attacks. There are no exceptions.
Far more casualties accrue, far more die in the aftermath than the moment,
A few get monuments. Most do not. But all die, hearts and bodies alike.

About this poem.

76 years ago today, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. It was before my time. And yet, it still reverberates. The bloody echoes of that day changed our world.

That’s the way of all attacks. From Pearl Harbor and 9/11, to the day-to-day brutality and cruelty we inflict on those around us. The bodies pile up. We never learn.


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