Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Slides of Hiroshima

Smoke uncoiled from my father’s cigarette,
dimming the projector’s beam,
the sheet pinned to the bedroom wall.

I sipped grape soda, nibbled a saltine cracker.
“The bomb was nicknamed Little Boy.”
My father’s voice was raspy, matter-of-fact.

“We got orders to steamroll guns
in the rubble and dump ammo in the sea.
Higher-ups never talked about radiation.”

A black branch poked from bricks
scattered like teeth around a cathedral’s skull.
An X-rayed body smudged a sidewalk.

Smoke stung my eyes, blurred the skeleton
of a tricycle beneath a twisted gate.
A hairless dog nudged a girl’s ankle stubs.

How could I sleep with wind
shaking charred faces from trees,
the moon burning grass the color of Hiroshima?

Khrushchev had shipped missiles to Cuba.
Outside, our dog tugged its chain,
teeth clicking like slides in the projector.  

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