Nuclear caul

I can tell you for sure, silver rhymes with nothing at all.

But you can make slant rhymes and find internal meter. Words that are close, but not quite. They’re not right. Like sliver. And filter. And kilter. And wilter. That’s the person who wilts under pressure, you know? That’s not me, though. I’ve never wilted. Melted, though, for sure.

There are lots of words that have no rhymes, but you can find something close if you have enough the time. Like purple, and month. And here comes xenon.

Xenon. Like lean on. Like gene on.

That’s what they said would happen, out here. Genes would go on. Or off. Like superheroes or supervillains, we’d all sprout antlers and spew spiderwebs out our noses. Or something. The whole area roped off, agreed on for eons. Too much xenon.

Silver is my favorite, though, if you need something to think about for a long, long time. Which I do.

A sarcophagus surrounds us, me and some others, the ones who got stuck and who didn’t get out and we wander around here and will for a while. I guess. Because that’s what you do when you’re silver, too. All ghostly and pale and you blend with the walls, and we’ll be here forever in this nuclear caul.

There is so much in silver. The river in winter. The shivers that kill her. The stillbirth of this verse.

I’m not crazy, just lonely. They left me, you know. Too scary, too melty, too much dangerous stuff. I was too close to meltdown. I still am. It’s rough.

I rhyme all in English, it reminds me of home. It tastes like the nights we spent walking the streets looking for beats in the bars down in SoHo, so boho, so neat. I should rhyme more in Russian, my Russian is crushin’.

No, actually it sucks.

It’s nuts. I grew up in New York where our science made giants of egos, but language was vetoed in school. Recruited in school, black suits and slim ties, I was impressed by their serious eyes.

They were the ones who sent me abroad, a three-letter agency, men in black suits. The kind you say ‘yes’ to, your opinion is moot. It was only supposed to be for two weeks. A research visit, a learning trip, a chance to show willing, and sharing, and caring. A way for us to show them that we can play nice. A way for us to quietly plant some spies.

Silver knobs on doors, and the levers and handles and dials covering the instrument panels. Everything covered in webs left behind by the spiders who died off because none of their prey lived to fly the next day. They might have survived through apocalypse hell with their shells for protection, if they scuttled in a different direction. It’s more than we could do, stuck in one room.

Not going to lie, it wasn’t my most successful trip.

I tried to get out when the people were moving, and buses were scooping the stragglers up. I tried to escape but you know how it goes. Too close to the boom, stuck in the room and the doors were all bolted with silvery yokes. So, I’m stuck here forever with some fellas who never got over the Cold War and think I’m a joke. And worse. Never mind that we’re cellmates in this life and the next, never mind that the forest around us is nuclear waste.

In the winter, in snow, it’s silvery too.

You’d think my Russian would have improved by now, but it hasn’t. 

I have time now to think about things like my words, and the past, and the future, and nuclear birds. I have nothing but time, so I come up with rhymes, some which don’t work and some I think do.

When you’re stuck in Chernobyl, you’re not very mobile. You either get woeful, or find a new hobby. The ghost with the most, I find I have time to pick open a rhyme, and test silver with pilfer and orange with thyme.

Not that they grow here. Not that I could eat them, anyway.

Silver isn’t even on the color wheel. Orange doesn’t rhyme with anything, either, but at least it’s on the wheel, across from greens that are mean and blues that are true.

Silver is nowhere and everywhere. Silver is off the chart.

Like me.