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"AS OF LATE" is accepted by HOTEL AMERIKA.

***
AS OF LATE
..........for my friend, n.k.
1.
.....Some of the work confronting us
.....will not be completed during my presidency...

I told you during the speech,
I am five days late.

.....Some, like the elimination of nuclear weapons,
.....may not be completed in my lifetime…

I can no longer remember that I wanted to bear a child.

2.
My grandfather met a pregnant woman, summer 1945.

She held an empty bottle and a little red kimono
.....and she sat down by the gray wall.

He gave her water

.....and kept walking to the hill near Hiroshima
.....and then bullets rained

.....and the atomic bomb...

3.
He found the woman again
with a shred of the red cloth.

Her bowels
.....and placenta were spread

under the wall; in the ditch.

He did not find her unborn child but he smelled it.

4.
After rain and rain, the moon
threw down a little blue light.

.....How beautiful the spring of 1946 was;

dandelions and clovers covered the wall
.....and nobody could remember

there were the two corpses underneath it.

5.
While I am listening to the speech,

millions of cells are dividing
in bubbles of amniotic fluid;

a little heart pumps in my womb.

.....And you ask,
“Do we give it a Japanese or American name?”

I don’t know…
but I will stroke its forehead every night

humming an old lullaby.

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