By Gina Valdés
Artwork by Tadashi Hayakawa
Tadashi remembers running with all
the strength of his four-year-old legs,
his mother Shizuko brushing sparks
and ashes from his hair.
He remembers fleeing flames
with neighbors toward charred building,
the one-legged soldier on crutches
bellowing, Not here! To hillside!
He remembers in dreams
the ashen silence of their return,
misty rain falling on matsu trees,
the half-burned face of a neighbor.
He remembers, remembers
all the houses rubble and ashes,
his home—to his relief and dismay—
the only one standing.
In memory of the 100,000, and the not counted,
who perished, March 10, 1945, in
the U.S. bombardment of Tokyo.
We walk into an ink painting
in shades of gray, an old ryokan
at dusk in a farming village,
far from the clutter and clatter
My heart flutters awake
as he steps into our room
in a gray yukata,
his body damp from a steam bath
The warmest color in this sumi-e:
our flushed skin.
light and shadow
play in his eyes
as he speaks
of chiaroscuro afternoons
my skin reflects light
I am an unclad image
in a sketchbook
a nude painting
a naked woman
Gina Valdés’ poetry has been published in journals and anthologies in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. Recent work appeared in Calyx, Earth’s Daughters, Spillway, Huizache, and Mizna.
Tadashi Hayakawa is an internationally known artist who works in mixed media with an emphasis on abstract oil painting. His work has been exhibited in many galleries in the U.S., Mexico, and Asia. He recently had a solo exhibition in Tokyo, and took part in an ekphrastic exhibition in Parker, Colorado with his "Mu" painting inspired by the poem "Ashes."