Bikini Atoll

The pen taught me about the artificial sun.

Account—the perceived right to atomic murder:

reporting from a city deli (open late),

by cuts of meat hung like the silhouettes

blanketing otherwise bare concrete walls.

Lit, by the light of the sun:

strips of word flesh, salted and raw.

I read your testament with my eyes clamped shut.


Gifts and stories etched into consciousness,

rays of the sun searing

past the defenses of my tired retinas—

how easy blindness comes,

like water eroding rock; unnoticeable.


Sunrise on the Bikini Atoll.

the soundless crash of light flagellating eyelids,

the whip, an electromagnetic viper

in the night. The pen speaks

with brilliant, razor-primed

toothpick-teeth; electrified.


Twenty-three 60-watt stamps,

atomic ink blots on the ocean,

pacific blooms that peel water like orange skin;

overripe—bleached coral cries echoing

like whale calls across the hydrated cosmos.

Atomic lamps painted on the walls of the sky.


Twenty-three 60-watt stamps,

each dwarfing your household incandescent.

strips of tungsten tongue glowing red and then white.

Light lashing to the shrill beat of the mockingbird, atomized.

no doubt the bird succumbed, blind and deaf.

why are the cries of demise

ignored, the chirping of birds run through by nuclear death,

runaway power stirring through living wires.


everything, upturned – blue, no more.

bones; aloft, tarot bones uplifted by

the searing flashbulb above.

cloud bones—wishing that these booms

were ordinary light bulbs.

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