Every time I see a photo of the devastation of the firebombing of Tokyo in 1945, I see this image.
What he remembered was the air raid siren, then running through a wall of flames. Mother, holding little sister close to her breast, ran next to him. He remembered stumbling over bodies and nearly falling down. Then they were at the river, in the park with hundreds of others. The sky was a bright orange. Looking at his mother and sister, he found her round face, always so full of smiles and laughter, was stiff and cold. Will help come? Everything and everyone he has known has vanished. He is alone, and he is only eight years old.
George Polley writes poetry and fiction, including three novels and one novella. He has lived in Sapporo, Japan since 2008.