Haiku For The Radiation Detector Installed At My School

                            The power plant has released rainwater tainted with radioactive substances 
                              into the Pacific Ocean at least seven times since April. 
                             —Japan Times, Sept. 20, 2015

                              Abe's administration has pushed Fukushima refugees to return to their 
                              homes even as radiation in the area remains so widespread and at such a 
                              high level that it is still unsafe to live. 
                              —Common Dreams, Sep 29, 2015

Was love possible
before this blue face came with
its vision of truth?

Early morning, my 
steps the first, a line past you 
straight through the new snow.

Where to, this message
flashing again and again?
Error, cannot send.

The plums in flower:
spring hues splashed across the glass
face of a machine.

That cicada knows
not the numbers beneath it,
buzzes loud and long.

Summer festival,
students in long rows practice 
before you, practice.

Shaking underneath,
a sparrow flightless, alive
still, somehow. Autumn.

God is what consumes
us, the daily report here
of His awful grace.

Late snow, meter the
lonely guardian of our

How each day the frost
transforms into liquid light,  
tears, tears for the dead.

In this new Japan
we check the radiation
levels as we leave.

BERN MULVEY's first book, The Fat Sheep Everyone Wants, won the 2008 Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize, and his second book, Deep Snow Country, won the 2013 Field Poetry Prize. He has published extensively in English and Japanese, including two award-winning chapbooks, as well as poems in Poetry, Agni, Field, Beloit Poetry Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, Cimarron Review, Passages North and Poetry East. He lives in Iwate, Japan.
The Adirondack Review