When people were being killed
how could the sky have been so beautiful?
I had never seen such a gorgeous sunset.
Even the clouds were going up in flames.
When I crawled out of the shelter
a fragment of the night sky hissed obliquely by my ears.
Overwhelming light flared in eight glass windows,
one color fighting against another,
all reflected sumptuously as on a screen-
the red struggling to redeem
the blue of day from the black sky,
purple looming, green dashing, orange flowing,
colors of all kinds mixing, shrieking -
was it the southern part of the city
that was bathing in golden rain
falling brightly, god knows from where?
Was it an alien world enclosed within the glass?
Was it silent, dark, heated air
that whirled about, encircling
the dumbfounded little Nero?
How could a war have been
Translated by Edward Lueders and Naoshi Koriyama