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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

Driving east into the carnival sunrise, I can’t help think
of the Far East, houses spinning in water like tea cups
we spun at the county fair as quake and tsunami chase
the calendar. Whirlpools of birds eddy at the horizon
over Athens, not that Athens, but the one just down M-
66 where the diners at the Kopper Kettle talk about
Japan. Just mentioning it makes the Reuben sandwich
taste radioactive. Maybe those reactors will, like old
cars, heal themselves. When the core melts down,
is it like the cheese on cheesy fries? The bright midway
of disaster keeps the buttons of the drowned, sun a horrible
tv camera on disaster. I juggle three oranges in the pattern
of a biological hazard sign. There will be no rice paper
for a thousand years. On the day the island sank, people
floated for a few hours. Sayonara, citizens, swimmers.
Reactors weep plutonium tears, and for dessert, perhaps
something microwaved and too hot to touch.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske
drives to teach and listens to NPR.