Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Anne Tibbitts writes

Wearing A Nightgown at The Ammunition Bunker, Pearl Harbor Bombing, December 7, 1941
(for Kevin Kelley’s mother)

There we were—at 4 a.m.
Riding the bus into the Honolulu
No headlights
And we couldn’t smoke cigarettes

No one moved toward the matches
They held their breaths
Like wind in the hurricane’s eye
Nothing moved
But it was tense still
Foretelling the second wave of storm
Which many would just not survive

We returned to the base and were told
Where to go: there was an ammunition bunker
We could hide in—many of the women
Still wore nightgowns
The men were all leaving—they could not stay
To hold a hand or wipe dry a tear
Or muffle sobs with a hug

When we heard the planes, far off like
Low rumblings, and then knew for sure
It wasn’t just a drill or a dream,
There was something ghostlike
In the way we watched the wind  blow,
The sea salt smell of blue ocean…

Later, after what seemed like a thousand
Years, who will ever forget the sight of
That Captain’s wife—young, pregnant, beautiful
In her yellow silk nightgown, bent over
The body of her husband, kissing dried yolk
Off his mustache, whispering through the heavy
Rush of tears how sorry she was that he didn’t
Even have time to finish his toast, the sweet
Sweet perfume of plumeria blossoms
Falling thick around the bunker.


1 comment:

  1. This is an imagined historical recollection by Anne, probably based on actual eyewitness accounts. But notice how the precise, tiny details make it seem real.


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