Nazim Hikmet – Hiroshima Child

For Nabra Hassanen,

Dear Nabra, I have never heard of you until the news talked about you – and how I wish I have never heard your name, and how I wish you were alive.  You have been dead for a few days now, and I am thinking of you and many beautiful young children whose skin color not too different from my own sister’s. I know many were killed on that day, on many streets, and many will die as I am writing these words for you, and I may never hear of most of them. I know you cannot see this letter, nor this will bring any of you back, but I have nothing else to offer to you, so maybe I am writing this to myself to ease my pain.

Nabra, you were killed not too far from where I live, your skin color not too different than mine, and maybe it was another lucky day for me that I got to come to your memorial, Nabra. You were killed here, in your own country. You were killed simply because you were you, because you had your hair covered, because you were a young muslim woman, because now you are an easily noticeable target.

I am thinking of you Nabra on this summer day that you won’t know of. I am thinking of you when some people out there can brush your death off as road rage, and just look at you as a murder case. I am thinking of you on this Ramadan day, and how you will never again sit at iftar table with your family. Oh Nabra, how empty the table must be tonight at Iftar, and all the nights to come. You know, yesterday, as we gathered around in DuPont to stand vigil for you, I thought about my mother, she’s fasting, and I thought of your mother who’s fasting too, and I felt the violent pain that is stabbing her heart as she grieves for her young darling.

Is the sun warm? Are the clouds beautiful? Would you like some of Grandma’s rice pudding to break your fast? Oh Dear Nabra, this is making me cry, and I cannot write no longer, for nothing is helping and words are too sad to stand together on a line. May you rest in peace now. May no mother cry for her young one again.

Nazim Hikmet

Hiroshima Child

It is me who is knocking on your doors

But none can hear my silent tread
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead, and dead cannot be seen

I’m only seven though I died
In Hiroshima long ago
I’m seven now as I was then
When children die they do not grow

My hair was scorched by swirling flame
My eyes grew dim my eyes grew blind
Death came and turned my bones to dust
And that was scattered by the wind

I need no fruit I need no rice
I need no sweets nor even bread
I ask for nothing for myself
For I am dead and cannot eat no bread.

All that I need is that for peace
You fight today you fight today
So that the children of this world
Can live and grow and laugh and play.

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