“Why Can’t I Have an Atom Poet for a Message Boy?” — Ace Boggess

“Why Can’t I Have an Atom Poet for a Message Boy?”

—Halldor Laxness, The Atom Station

Build a bomb on your tongue, then build a universe.
Creator, destroyer. Tell me the news is bad, &
bad good for the goal of overwhelming force,
shock & awe. Tell me about blissfulness,
never that ignorance sings an evil note in the dark.

You have been paid. Tell me message & answer.
Why is a dollar worth less than a skull?
Why does air smell like burning pennies?

The anchorman sat expressionless
as he put the question to you:
Was this ever the right thing to do?
Your words curse ground beneath your feet.

When you die, I will bury you in limestone,
so that as the rains come they will
wash you farther down, farther down.


Ace Boggess is author of three books of poetry, most recently Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.