"American": A Poem by a TOMODACHI Inouye Scholar

The following is a poem by Priscilla Torres, a student at Loyola Marymount University who participated in the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program. She wrote this after visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park as part of the program in 2014.


I walked in,

My eyes soared past the global view,

The influence one event can have,

The articles of proof.

This isn't a made up story,

Or something of the science fiction age.

This is real.

It happened not too long ago.

I felt my body slowly drifting back in time.

I could see the faces,

The faces of people I knew,

My friends' families,

Their history as a familial entity,

A community of collective souls.

The destruction,

The sheer destruction.

It was astounding.

For a moment I felt empty,

Completely devoid of wholeness.

My blood did this.

My ancestors did this.

All in the name of America,

All in the name of freedom, 

All in the name of diplomacy,

All in the name of a war.

I have never felt more American,

I have never felt more guilt,

More shame,

More responsibility,

Over something I had no control over.

My own kind did this.


The people of the United States of America.

But what’s worse?


Humans did this to humans.

One line has permeated my thoughts every day since,

You have a responsibility,

This can’t happen again,

Promise me you won’t let this happen again.


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