Hiroshima, My Love
from Light Made Solid
© Ben Mellor, 2009

He was like this alpha male particle
Who randomly crashed into me at a party, all
Promise and ambition, but that first collision
Released amorous energy equivalent to nuclear fission.
 
I felt chained to the reaction,
Forever changed by our attraction
And split, not into sub-atomic fractions,
But simply into me before, and after, our interaction.
 
In the early days he'd shower me
With praise and flowers, be they radiant roses
Like rays of sun the earth devours when days are done,
Or tulips, geraniums, cadmium red or yellow as uranium.
 
I was enriched, 235 times over.
His alchemy made heavy-water days fizz like soda.
I glowed, ablaze, irradiated, penetrated like gamma - he
Even made me begin to imagine creating a nuclear family.
 
He worshipped me like the goddess Demeter,
He said our love was too abundant to meter,
We could cheat the fallout from an atomic bomb,
Beat the apocalyptic hinterland of a nuclear winter. Man,
he was wrong.
 
For beneath a love too good to ever be, through
Grew a tumour of mutant words so meant to be true
But empty of energy. When his fuel rod was spent, waste
Mounted in underground pools too deep to be faced,
 
And when it leaked out we covered it up
With a blanket of secrets, smothered it, fucked
With forced groans that used to be felt, drowned
The sound of alarms screaming of melt-down,
 
And as our half-lives decayed, contamination
Became weapons-grade stockpiles; proliferation
Of fissile missiles made destruction mutually assured
With just a hair-trigger deterrent like Damocles' sword.
 
Mushroom storm clouds brewing a rain of ruin,
Estranged lovers ducked for cover, pressed button pursuing
A white-hot solution for cold war allies turned enemies.
All that's left is a shadow of love burned on our memories.