The Unnamed / by Christina Rosalie

I keep thinking of the people, unnamed who wake up in the morning, leave their houses and return to the Fukushima plant wearing frail protective gear and thicker prayers to protect their bodies soaking up more radiation than is reasonable, sustainable, possible.

Do they say goodbye in the morning? Do they kiss the kids and women and men that they love? Do they wail uncontrollably in their cars driving towards the reactor, or are they convinced, confident and cool?

What does it feel like to be a civilian volunteered up for this enormous task: insurmountable and devastating both now, and in years from now when their white blood cells drop or tumors spread, when their hands quaver and their minds grow dim? What does it feel like to go unnamed so long, to return day after day, failing, hopeful, frantic, resigned?

I keep picturing them standing in their kitchens in the morning eating bowls of steaming broth, but their kitchens have likely been destroyed. Their homes, neighborhoods, all of it. So where do they go at night? And where do the others go, also unnamed, the thousands without shelter, food, heat?

My hands flurry across the keyboard until they end with the sentence above and then they stall. I start, stop, delete, start again.

I can't think of words that fill the gap in my chest; the ache; the way my heart is filled with everything: hope, promise, prayer, sadness, wonder.

Outside snowflakes are falling from a clear sunny sky, like crystals, weightless and glittering. The sun has risen, and the sap is rising, and the earth, tilted a little farther on its axis, is turning here towards spring.

What we can do.