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poetry Forecast

The weather report is never good news, in Philip Fried's poem, about the atmospheric patterns of the nuclear age.

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By Philip Fried

Even in the widespread valley fog
caused by auspicious radiating conditions
and wet soil, the President will not lose
sight of his "shadow," the officer-silhouette
toting the pigskin whose innards are top secret.

Though water vapor imagery depicts
only a gradual approach of an upstream
short wave and heavy overcast will be slow
to depart, the nuclear bomb's core and trigger,
stored separately, can be fetched for assembly pronto.

Despite a low amplitude ridge of high pressure
that will give way to a more zonal pattern
with a diffuse system and an unsteady
dry front, the long-range bombers with pre-armed
nuclear bombs are always aloft and ready.

Although the southern edge of the westerlies
will get close enough to introduce high thin clouds
but the low to mid levels will remain
too dry to support any precipitation,
the codes could still be transmitted, for inundation.

Philip Fried's seventh book of poetry, just out, is Squaring the Circle (Salmon, 2017). His previous book, Interrogating Water and Other Poems(Salmon, 2014) was praised by The Guardian for "the valor and vision of its protest." His poems and reviews have appeared in numerous journals. Web site: