on the nuclear porch,

asphalt in our sinuses,

sipping what we cannot

swallow. ghosts announce themselves:

the Tings, family of five.

youngest daughter likes watching

songbirds in her pleated skirt.

it’s not about pity, but some kind of

justice. parents do factory work, pipe thickets

to meet our needs until

the accident that is

no accident. it’s a feature, the inevitable

explosion when there are so many that stay intact

to pay for the lawsuit. the smoke powers

our lives, our lungs—how to choose one?

how to cast fault on the neighbors, sliced

and diced blocks on pavement with

sincerity, nothing more dangerous. to point fingers

at the designer, the engineer, the architect,

the people for living & breathing closed eyes, the sun

for stinging radiation. blame the ill

for malingering, blame the dead

for standing quiet

for whispers

for pathos

for not fading


Author: Hal Y. Zhang

Hal Y. Zhang is a word arranger and lapsed physicist who splits her time between the east coast of the United States and the Internet. She writes at halyzhang.com, and her science fiction chapbook Hard Mother, Spider Mother, Soft Mother was published by Radix Media. 

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