Nuclear

Sometimes you don’t think the bombs are so bad.

A guaranteed ending, an excuse.
Gone the crying, gone the long hours when you should be vacuuming, cooking dinner,
after you have left the children at school.
You don’t know what you cry for, but you can feel it
just beyond your splayed fingers.

You think you’ll unravel gracefully in the wake of the blast,
the years untangling like stiff stitches ripped
from an old suit of a man
whose silver eyes, behind glasses as shatterproof as his ego,
once hooked into yours at a party.
After a few naked rolls with him,
he stopped meeting your gaze
and fixed his to your breasts.

Tell me what’s wrong, sweetie,
he says, and you open your mouth but it is empty;
sorrow is cheaper than talk.
He tries his best to help you, the only way he knows how—
his crotch presses against you in the deep hours of the night
but it feels more like salt in the wound than a poultice.

Nothing is new.
It is nineteen fifty
and you have two young children
and you feel old, crumpled, a sheet of paper
that has lived inside a fist too many times.

You smash the china set
against the wall one day,
grasping the gold-rimmed teacups between your thumb and fingers
and pretending that the portrait above the mantle
is your husband’s head.
Later you will tell him you tripped
on one of the children’s dolls.

You imagine the last of your living days.
Your biological clock ticks toward the air raid siren
that will not be the first you’ve heard, but the last.
You picture the backyard welled with a crater
and your heart echoes the sentiment with an atomic throb.

When it is over
perhaps you will feel less empty.

Hannah Lamarre is a junior Writing, Literature & Publishing major at Emerson College with a concentration in fiction. She is the assistant fiction editor for Emerson’s Gauge Magazine. Her writing has been published in Providence College’s The Alembic and hung in Boston’s Transportation Building. She aspires to write YA literature and to own several borzois.