When I was eight years old I felt that nuclear
death was close at hand. I felt its irradiant imminence
every time we crawled under our school desks when the
air-raid siren blew, my eyelids pressed against my left forearm,
my other forearm shielding the back of my head my
jutting rump nevertheless fully exposed to the blast wave–and
me wondering all the while whether I would see the
fatal flash of light through the shield of my eyelids
plus arm & if I would actually feel my hair
burning which frightened me slightly more than death by vaporization.
Paraphrases from the novel Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles.