Rest House

I see something moving
in the trees
across the river

It is convincing me
that I am hungry
and it will feed me

I am hungry
I have not eaten since 
I saw my mother intact

She was angry
had shapes all over 
her face

stress and strenuousness
warmth and forgiveness

When I rode the subway afterwards
I looked closely   maybe longingly
at the people around me

and thought, one second separates us
from breathing in
each other’s skin


Copyright © 2022 by Brandon Shimoda. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 2, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“‘Rest House’ is named after the Rest House in Peace [Memorial] Park in Hiroshima, a tourist information center/café across the river from where the atomic bomb the United States used to attack the people of Hiroshima exploded. The Rest House, surrounded by memorials for the dead, is filled with brochures, beverage machines; people stop to refresh themselves, use the restroom, let their minds go blank. I have been thinking about the space—the seconds, the inches, the thresholds—between atrocity and tranquility, upheaval and peace. This poem is a small, solemn gesture in a longer series of that thinking.”
Brandon Shimoda