The Pom-Pom Bomb by Simon Cockle

Who deployed the Ultimate Weapon?
Nobody could remember all the
hazy details that summer
except the Mutually-Assured Destruction
it spelled out to Mankind.

In the weeks leading up to the fateful day,
there were bitter accusations and counter-accusations.
Was it the sudden death of an archduke
in some arcane territorial backwater or
a gesture misinterpreted
(the insult of the right finger,
held up wrong)?

The UN went into overdrive and sanctions
dropped at the feet of suits.  The telex
chattered, and cables whipped across continents.
Nothing could be done, they said,
it has to be this way to save mankind
in the long run.

We collected all that mattered
and sat bolt upright
in underground bunkers as
the sirens bawled into the night.

Then the wireless signal crashed
and we crowded round the radio one last time;
the sombre voice intoned that negotiations were at an end.
Reach out and bring your loved ones close,
adopt the position and wait for the all-clear.
We listened for the rumble to engulf us.

The bunker must have muffled the impact
or so we thought.  We cracked the door
and fell out into the light,
held our hands up in the fall out
only to find a thin rain of glitter
and confetti.

And there, above the city,
the unmistakable outline of a Pom-Pom,
so massive it blocked out the sun.
I thought I saw a unicorn galloping
past a near-by Starbucks
but it might have been a squad car.

We were not the only ones hit like this;
the satellites on the News showed the locations
of Pom-Poms across the globe
and, when you looked closer,
how they spelled out

Simon Cockle is a poet and writer from Hertfordshire. He writes as part of Poetry ID, a Stanza of the Poetry Society. His poems have been published in iOTA, the London Progressive Journal and Pantheon Magazine, amongst others. He was invited to read at this year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival as part of the Poetica Botanica event. He teaches English in a local comprehensive school, and has a wife and daughter who nod reassuringly when he reads them his poems.

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