The 2River View 24.2 (Winter 2020)

Lauren Swift


a mushroom cloud
waxing like leathered boots—
like their snap on the stairs
            home from work

whose room waits above
and who within it—
perhaps a bare tree huddled against winter gusts
a saint’s finger propped in a reliquary for onlookers
an entire town grown deep astride high mesas
            nature’s walls, to hide the forging of weaponry

within and without refrain
a terrible home both in and out
            the clomp of a heavy trod
            home from the mill
            the place that grinds the nuclear elements
            to dust, which snows upon
            the family inside, and freezes into icicles
            on the eaves

from the belltower
peals an old chorus:
            remember you are dust
            in the high room
the trill of this song
snaps the glass ice from the overhangs

no material nips
like leather does, climbing
to the room, where the bell swings

boots will try to mill a child into dust
and she will fuse into an explosive
            they will place her
            in a beautiful case
            for the penitent to look upon

have you ever considered the silence
that expands upon detonation

so holy                       so bright

Lauren Swift is pursuing an MFA at the University of California, Irvine. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in or are forthcoming in Cimarron Review, North American Review, The Rumpus, and Utterance Journal.

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