Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

The Man Who Played Godzilla

by William Miller

A runt, a short man among
short men, he looked for work
in post-war Japan.

Too small for the docks,
construction yards,
he stumbled on a movie set.

The light was fading—
someone told him to put
on a mask, stand there

for ten seconds. Fame
quickly followed. He raised
rubber arms, rose from

the sea to menace the world
in a dozen films. More
than a monster, they said

he was a symbol, God’s
revenge on man for dropping
the atom bomb.

But it was his revenge,
not God’s, for all
little men mocked

in schoolyards, ignored
by women. Killed by
power lines, tracer bullets,

he went down fighting,
bellowing. Flames shot
from his mouth.