Tony Barnstone


It was as if someone had shot a flash
off inches from my eyes. It was white, white,
and stung my cheeks as if I had been slapped
hard in the face. I must have lost some time,
because I woke up in a shattered house.
Then stumbling down the street, I heard the people
crying help, but I could not help, and now
I passed by a stalled streetcar of dead people
and felt the yellow burns across my face
and body. Odd. My flesh was hanging free.
I tried to pat the skin back into place.
Some people were so charred I could not see
if they were lying face down or on their backs.
They didn’t look like human beings. But they
were still alive. I thought, who could do that?
And then my heart filled up with bitter hate.
People lay along the rivers screaming.
The sky was red. Hiroshima was burning.
(Girl, Hiroshima)

Tony Barnstone
Snapshot first appeared in The Drunken Boat.