— Casey FitzSimons
Konnichiwa, he says. A foreign accent,
American, British. From a distance I saw him,
saw his camera, know
he is a reporter. My crying would give him
another heartrending image. Photogenic, am I?
Newsworthy on doomsday?
Hello, he says. He sounds sincere
in his own language. Millions
will cry on Facebook today. Slide shows
on Yahoo news. The most pathetic
on NHK, CNN, YouTube
I found a towel, use it now
to cover my head and face
and do not answer.
He asks, Is this still Ishinomaki?
Not anymore, I tell myself. I don’t recognize
my neighborhood. What difference does it make?
Cityscapes are recognizable. Piles of rubble
are not. The living are unique. The dead
are not. I am half alive, have come back
to salvage, but there is nothing.
I see him only from the knees down. Snow falls
against the night pillars of his blue jeans, melts
as it touches his shoes.
Onamae wa nan desu-ka, he asks, lifting
a corner of my towel. I answer,
I am Kyoko. Yes, we are still
Konnichiwa means “Hello” in Japanese. Ishinomaki is a city 30 miles NE of Sendai, including several smaller municipalities. Onamae wa nan desu-ka means “What’s your name?” When written 今日子, the name Kyoko means “child of today.”