Jared Pearce teaches writing and literature at William Penn University. Some of his poems are forthcoming from Albatross, Asymptote, and Bird’s Thumb, while others have recently been shared in Far Off Places, Belle Reve, Apeiron, Angle, and The Lake.
During faculty cake the alarm sends
us chatting down the stairs, across the lawn
to the safe point where we can see the man
flailing his arms to return us again.
In primary school we laced our necks
with our knuckles, backs away from windows
in readiness for atomic war, elbows
cranked to save us from radiation and wreck;
We had to be still, so still no molecule
drifting across California could find us,
a perfect turtle of faith, a snail of trust,
willing to carry our homes or school
To a heaven, we priests of the atom cult,
distorting our fears as child and adult.