In the year 2053, I will be 67.
2053, that is also the number of nuclear bombs detonated between 1945 and 1998.
More than a hundred years after the first nuclear bomb drop, I will sit back in my rocking chair
and ponder the poison of the Earth,
but I won’t have to think hard. It won’t be a very cerebral activity at all.
That poison will have come to live in my body.
I feel the way my organs are trying to turn inside out.
Each part swollen with the claw marks of one desperate for escape.

The world asks, How can I move on from the past?
How can I gather myself after this destructive loss?

In my nightmares, the answer never takes human form.
The grey landscapes host apathetic parades of ash clouds.

But I am human, so I ask, How can I recognize this suffering and still give hope?

I remember a conversation in a bar that made me unable to see straight,
and I wasn’t even drinking.
She, a teacher, was talking about a kid who thought World War III had started or would start soon.

I imagined that everything suddenly changed.
We had to go into the woods, into hiding.
We had no grocery stores, the streets were rubble.
How privileged I was to only imagine this.

Still, I don’t trust the world not to feed us cancer-causing, disease enhancing everything, and
I still walk to the grocery store to buy over-priced gluten free puffed rice cereal.
I’m working hard to be healthy, to rid the disease and poison from my body.

It is profitable to sell people like me cures.
Green juice! Hemp protein! Non-gmo certified!
If only it were so profitable to stop building nuclear weapons and nuclear plants.
If only I could sell my high priced cereal to the end of all nuclear expansion.
Then my rocking chair would fly, and my organs, having learned to bloom,
would water color the last sky of my last day on Earth.


April Penn is a poet and activist who has participated in the 365 blog, a challenge to write a poem a day each year. She has featured at the Cantab Poetry Lounge, Out of the Blue Gallery, Occupy Boston and UMASS Amherst. She has also been involved in community organizing, such as facilitating That Feminist Reading Group, a safe space for intersectional issues about class, gender, race, ability, and sexual orientation.