Chernobyl Apples

posted Apr 10, 2012

“The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?’”

Sigmund Freud

Maybe this even made us believe in original sin,
except we did not invent these bombs.
Rather, our names were pasted on them
so it became a sign of beauty
to be a bombshell, to radiate our charms.
We threaten them as their bombs threaten us.
They were paralyzed by our sex,
which came like subatomic particles in invisible waves—
measured not in rads or roentgens, but in cup size,
waist circumference.
Like the electron cloud of a uranium atom,
our behavior is mysterious and our location
can never really be known.
So they sought to split us,
to change us into more basic parts,
and were surprised when the results
were equally poisonous,
the half life equally lengthy,
and the warning signs
they hastily erected
around our perimeters just as useless.
We shift with the wind and cannot be contained.

Phoebe Reeves’s poems appear in a chapbook, The Lobes and Petals of the Inanimate, published by Pecan Grove Press, and in journals including Rosebud, DIAGRAM, The American Poetry Journal, The Los Angeles Review, and Quarterly West. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, fiction writer Don Peteroy, and teaches at Clermont College.

Reeves’s poem “Through the Archway” also appears in this issue.