Oppenheimer Cradles the Bomb (& I’m Supposed to Feel Sorry for Him)
sucrose, vermillion the bloom, the stem the atomic fact is we are all big things made up of smaller things belted in Bible & rust
in biology class we watch Oppie catch the falling core he is poisoned & he dies this Genesaic justice this eye for that eye
lick of blue light molecules in cellophane unwrapped & unsinned some might say ungospelled some might say what have we done?
what we have done is God-like & Gomorrahed heart unbuttoned & torn from the sleeve that thick American cruelty hot & silver against
our pink gloveless hands the atomic fact is we are all small things made up of bigger things a singular event swaying in a plain room
Dean Winchester Leaves a Message
the truth is we’re all liars we love the wasp dying in the fig we split the crabshell & suckle like fattening pigs
what feast is forbidden to us? our tender smokescreens our particulate lawyers our burger joints our michelangelic mummies
none of this is real not the dying not the dead not the ghosts that kiss me on my cheek & disappear
not the kissing me? i’m subatomic i learn what you teach your blistered motel bible forgotten in a drawer amen
i in my nativity scene believed that yellow-line two-way highway lie americans are born believing
that anyplace anywhere there’s a light on in a window that there’s always a way in a way back out
To H, after Visiting Hours
Helen hiked her skirt and set sail. I don’t blame her. She
took one cosmic step out- myth, settled on some grainy shore. Blue-sky
heroes split their ligaments and look back. Let them
gun-stab and bone-broken. Let them ask why the sky now-empty
prickles in their eyes like cactus seeds. The moon tips
like a bucket, soft as a cricket’s purr. The light just-so.
You crunched ice. We agreed it tasted better here,
in a land you’d never seen before. The sea still swallows
like a throat. Where broken: bioluminescent life.
In 1969, my mother saw the shuttle Earth-leap right there,
from her bedroom window. Metal leaves us behind
and we forgive it. Gravity’s firm fist opens. I’m tired of figures—fact
and myth. Let the scientists calculate the relative
distance of the planets from the sun. I will still be your friend.
-- Emily Khilfeh (she/her) is a Palestinian-American writer from Seattle, WA. She is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University and former fellow at the Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets. She was a first place winner of the 2020 Barjeel Art poetry prize, and a shortlist finalist for the Wabash Prize in Poetry, the Palette Poetry Prize, and the Frontier Award for New Poets. Her poetry appears in Up the Staircase Quarterly, Pinwheel Journal, Glass: a Journal of Poetry, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Pushcart.