boy in a bubble


the white-hot air blinds, motionless, and the village is a ghost town. so here I stand in the graveyard, my hands scented with the rich aroma of the thyme that we planted on your grave. below me in the shimmering land, the fog horn bellows a far-away roar as the mist rolls into the Lisbon bay. I like to believe that you are now in the pine tree next to the grave, and as always, I lean my ear to the bark to hear the earth talk from underneath and the wind from above. today there is no wind, so the earth speaks louder, in underground streams, shifting slabs of rock, the faint cracking of crystal and granite.

so what was it like? what is it like?

hiroshima, ground zero. annihilation. the entire skin peels off, until you’re raw flesh. for weeks on end, you are an open wound, exposed to the piercing air and sun, the arrowheads of rain and hail. the pain is constant. and then you’re dropped into a pool of caustic bleach.

you are nothing but pain, and this goes on, unbearably.

but as time progresses, you grow a new skin. your DNA changes. you evolve into your new environment. you become something different, learn to live in this new world that only you inhabit.

this is where I stand, on this alien planet. of lately, my remotes have reported tendrils and shoots growing out of me, presumably probing for life other but myself. and indeed, it is out there. but will what I have become frighten those otherworldly creatures? my reptile skin, my caustic blood?

I have begun to build a suit, for me to step out safely into this new world, or for some creature to wear, should it wish to join me in here.

I lean back against the tree and begin to reconfigure myself.

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