John Bradley's Poetry

Oh Trinity, Where Would We Be Without You


My name is [Unreadable]. The letters
carry small traces of July 16, 1945
in their marrow. As does your name.

If you think you're a bomb, please do not
get on my passenger jet; do not sit
in the seat next to me; do not sneeze,
hiccup, burp, suddenly blow your nose.

I asked my mother where she was
that morning when the desert darkness
turned inside out. She can remember
later that day eating a bowl of pistachio
ice cream, then settling onto the floor,
her legs up on her bed, to nap.

There are good bombs and bad bombs,
smart bombs and dumb bombs.
Bombs that can count backwards
from ten in any language. Bombs
that can study your face and tell you,
in seconds, if you will live, or die
of internal bleeding.

I'm not a bomb because I have a freckle
on my right wrist and a missing wisdom
tooth and nearsightedness. The only time
I've ever exploded was when
a kidney stone meteored
into my right side.

Her eyes were closed, but as she drifted
above the earth she could see
someone in a white dress
shirt with sweat under his armpits.
Then his head lit up, his face
contorted, and light--hot, unstoppable
light--erupted from his head. Became his head.

Below the glow, she could still make out
his shirt, the pale buttons a quivering liquid.

My name is [Blurred]. I am not a bomb,
nor have I ever been a bomb, nor have I ever
knowingly befriended one. Though sometimes,
on a hot afternoon when everything looks
about to ignite, I think we are all made of nothing
but sand and fissile light.