Raymond Carver Jr. (May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988)
The girl in the lobby reading a leather-bound book.
The man in the lobby using a broom.
The boy in the lobby watering plants.
The desk clerk looking at his nails.
The woman in the lobby writing a letter.
The old man in the lobby sleeping in his chair.
The fan in the lobby revolving slowly overhead.
Another hot Sunday afternoon.
Suddenly, the girl lays her finger between the pages of her
The man leans on his broom and looks.
The boy stops in his tracks.
The desk clerk raises his eyes and stares.
The woman quits writing.
The old man stirs and wakes up.
What is it?
Someone is running up from the harbor.
Someone who has the sun behind him.
Someone who is bare-chested.
Waving his arms.
It’s clear something terrible has happened.
The man is running straight for the hotel.
His lips are working themselves into a scream.
Everyone in the lobby will recall their terror.
Everyone will remember this moment for the rest of their
Photo Credit: Phan Thị Kim Phúc, Nic Ut, 1972.
Note One: When the photograph above was seen on the Evening News and on the cover of Time Magazine, the course of the war in Viet Nam was diversely altered, not by military might but by the power of Public outrage.
Note Two: On this day in 1945 at 8:15 am, seventy-four years ago, the United states dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima immediately killing over 140,000 innocent civilians. Hiroshima was not a military target and yet was chosen by the US military as a show of strength and the devastating destruction of a bomb named “Little Boy.” Three days later another atomic bomb, “Fat Man” would be dropped over Nagasaki killing another 70,000 men, women, and children. The world has never know such an absolute act of man’s inhumanity to man.