© By Ruth Carr

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I am rinsing milk white mushrooms
Under the tap. Your mouth opens birdlike
To gulp all the world it can,

Incautious and whole.
A sliver of white in all that pink –
The first tooth is through.

A girl’s voice on the airwaves
Shocked by the hole
Where her sister’s cheek should be,

She can see right through to the teeth.
Thousands of splinters mosaic her child form,
This is the nuclear act embedded in flesh.

When she dies, her mother begs
Bury me with her.
Please, bury me with her.

I am watching skin peel like paint
Plants recoil into themselves
Seeking their own shadow.

Dust blooms with each step
As this wave burns us up,
But not to ashes.

Fifty years on
A girl’s voice on the airwaves
Fragments everything.

On the blank white space that is a mushroom
I visualise a mushroom field at dawn.
I drop one and it’s gone.

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