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    « Where Fiction Meets Non | Main | More Recovery Struggles With Raul I. »

    Where Were You When Hiroshima Exploded?

    Imagine an old Japanese woman with nimble fingers folding crisp paper into cranes as she floats through memories like a cloudy ghost. Imagine two friends in a café sharing a pastry, drinking lattes. One leans into whisper and they explode with laughter. Imagine the full moon, its dependable yellow lunacy. Imagine a little boy running full speed to leap into his mother’s pile of just raked leaves. Brittle red maples and mourning orange oaks. Autumn’s contradictory joy. Imagine closing your eyes and listening to the crashing ocean until you can’t tell the difference between waves and the sound of blood splashing through your veins. Imagine hot cocoa, fire, blankets, things that keep you warm. Imagine the earnest wisdom acquired from a prolonged and devoted commitment to grief. Now imagine the way that person smiles and wonder—really wonder—about the syntax of smiling. Imagine a yellow helium balloon. Cotton candy, thrill rides, and carnival games that were rigged from the start; the cemetery is just a couple blocks away from the fair. Imagine dinner with your family, that constant gathering, like the moon and mountains, the certainty of rock, the tenacity of dreaming. Imagine the steadfast knowledge that you are loved—beyond a doubt—loved, and the way that mingles with your ideas about what home means. Imagine being home—how being home is an abundance of answers to questions you can’t remember. Yeah. Imagine that. Imagine the door shutting behind you when you go home. Do you hear it? The sound of that fine line between going home and home coming. Imagine the place where going home meets home coming and that’s where your mother lives when she sees you, stunned, every single time, by the mere fact of you being a somebody at all.

    This parade of imagining was evoked by thinking about my mom today and letting home come home. Happy birthday, mom. In utero when atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, you have explosions in your blood that created this blasting heart. xo


    Reader Comments (23)

    That's very beautiful.

    I miss my mother.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterJo


    January 17, 2011 at 6:01 AM | Unregistered Commentertee

    Wow, wow, wow.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterLisa

    so beautiful and tender. what a gift.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:16 AM | Unregistered Commenternic

    You are and always will be an explosion in my life bringing forth memory after memory of the good and bad times that puts us where we are today...wishing you were coming home to an always greatly anticipated home coming. Thank you for the memories that come to mind when I read this and always know, no matter how far away you are, you never leave the warmth of my love to you, Mom

    January 17, 2011 at 7:27 AM | Unregistered Commentermom

    My kid is navigating the world and my heart is forever seized at the thought of him --the duality of motherhood, romance and agony-- and now I'm crying the ugly cry.

    This is not what I expected of a Monday morning.

    Happy Birthday, Ms. Pat. Blessings and blessings.

    January 17, 2011 at 8:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterJett

    I bow to you and your Mom. Beautiful.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeannie

    This is all very poetic and wonderful and everything everyone else will say, but dude, you NEVER tell people a lady's age. Let us all assume she was one of those tragic unwed kindergarten mothers, why don't you? Is that so much to ask for your poor mother??

    January 17, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterLiteralDan

    What a lovely tribute. It's one of those read-aloudy ones.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered Commentersweetsalty kate

    This gave me for-real shivers.

    Loved the moon's dependable yellow lunacy. Loved all that you evoked.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterEarnestGirl

    What a gift you have. What a gift your mother gave you. Your writing continually blows me away - beautiful.

    January 17, 2011 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered Commenteranastasia


    January 17, 2011 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

    Oh, you are so GOOD. Love.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterKaren

    Truly beautiful. You may have a rough time with the everyday things, but words...those bow down to you like a lovesick schoolgirl.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterTricia McWhorter

    Hmmmm, you made my "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" look really lame (through facebook messaging of all things). :-| It's the thought that counts, right?! I loved your post and I am sure you made you mother's day. She is quite a terrific woman with so much to offer! She also created two terrific guys... Thanks Mom, for being you and for raising the most wonderful husband a girl could ask for. :).

    January 18, 2011 at 4:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterSis in law

    And, she's on twitter! She gave me shit before the Michigan State - Alabama game. Pretty cool.

    January 18, 2011 at 7:10 AM | Unregistered Commentermuskrat

    as always, pure brilliance.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAmy Watson

    i always want to sort of tattoo your words onto me, so i don't forget them.

    but that would just be wierd.

    January 19, 2011 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered Commentersara

    This weblog is being featured on Five Star Friday!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie

    Way to make me misty eyed while sitting here at jury duty. As a mother to a girl and as a daughter, this was very heartwarming. Thank you.

    January 24, 2011 at 7:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterJJ

    How did I miss this post?? Wow.
    I could pick tiny sections again, and again, and again, a different one each time, and just meditate on the fullness of experience that the words evoke in my heart.
    Happy (belated) birthday, BHJ's Mom. And happy birthday, blasting heart.

    January 31, 2011 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterKit


    February 1, 2011 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterForgotten

    That was beautful, BHJ. You make me very misty. Your relationship with your daughter is beautiful, also. This writing stirs up the feeling we only hold in our hearts towards our children. I loved it! Happy 7th birthday, Elle Bee. Love, Aunt Suzie

    February 28, 2011 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterA. Suzie

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