Staircase on a Gas Storage Tank Shadowed in Uncharred Paint, Hiroshima

When she sleeps she dreams of bones.

Awake, she meditates over marrow & glue.

A dusting of seeds & pollen
highlights the wrinkles in her face.
She has one breath left to take.

This world is a crystal bowl.
It vessels water & light,
shadows & vibrations.

A single white candle
floats at its center,
flame bowed in a humid wind.

Inhalation & exhalation:

flame sucked away from its wick.
A woman’s hysteric shriek.

Her children spiral skyward,
wings crafted from uncaged ribs & blister-
thinned skin, groaning towards the moon.

The moon is a bone shard.
The children finger scraps of cloth.
A helix of dust lingers in the sky beneath them.


Peter Borrebach lives in Miami, FL.”Staircase on a Gas Storage Tank Shadowed in Uncharred Paint, Hiroshima” takes its title from the photograph of the same name in Richard Rhodes’s The Making of the Atomic Bomb.

Read also Harbor Song.

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