Saturday, April 02, 2011

424. Child in Time

Four-year-old Manami Kon sleeps after writing a letter to her mother, who was swept away by tsunami in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture. The little girl said late last month that she would write to her mother, and spreading a notebook on a kotatsu table at the home of relatives she spent nearly an hour writing: "Dear Mommy, I hope you are alive. Are you well?" Manami's father and younger sister also remain unaccounted for.

Manami chan,
the sea took your mama away
and she lives in heaven now
with dada and your sister.

You are alive, sweet girl,
and I think you may not believe
in life, in your solitary survival,
as the years march on.

People will forget.
They always do.

You will think, many times,
better to have joined them,
to have shared their fate, why,
why should I be spared?

Was there a reason?
Probably not.

The gods of all countries
play dice with human lives,
inhumanly laughing. And so,
Manami, all of four years,
I think you will learn
to dispense with these gods

for they are not needed.

There are people in the world
you do not even know, people
from countries you have
never even heard of, places
like India, Australia, Luxembourg,
Pakistan, Ireland, Sikkim,
whose hearts go out to you.

They will try to send you money,
a thing nice people do, wringing their hands,
willing and useless, wistfully helpless.

Some Americans will try to adopt you.
Be sure to avoid that. Go to school.
Get a job that will help other people,
always stay in Japan. Have children.
Remember your mother.