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.