We dreamed of glowing children,
their throats alive and cancerous,
their eyes like lightning in the dark.
We were uneasy in our skins,
sixth grade, a year for blowing up,
for learning that nothing contains
that heat which comes from growing,
the way our parents seemed at once
both tall as cooling towers and crushed
beneath the pressure of small things—
family dinners, the evening news,
the dead voice of the dial tone.
Even the ground was ticking.
The parts that grew grew poison.
Whatever we ate became a stone.
Whatever we said was love became
plutonium, became a spark
of panic in the buried world.
from: West Branch, No. 66, 2010. Copyright 2010.