A   critical mass of uranium-
235 with unstable edges
releases annihilation in seconds,
the thermal pulse spreads exponentially
in the droning wake of a lone bomber.

The fireball nightmare erases thousands
in an instant, an exclamatory
scream under a mushroomed stroke in heaven —
unholy fallout of Prometheus,
succinct in E = mc2.

Pluto’s Gate shutter snaps the last moments
into nuclear-flash, still silhouettes,
burnt outlines of flickering extinguished,
not from normal dissipation of fuel
but from an unnatural wick snuffing:

a girl at play, airborne, never landing;
a wife on bank stairs, never withdrawing;
a man with a ladder, never climbing;
a dog on the plaza, never fetching.

*[ WSB ].