The four minute war

The four minute warning is over. It was a test.
The birds are gone. The grass grows towards the sun.
The snow is not ashes from the blast. It was a test.

For the four minutes, my parents stood, shaking.
My father’s hand jerked towards my mother’s breast. She turned
away, towards the screeching. My parents and I were shaken.

It was the war come back to claim them. Ice blood
stopped their veins. No thoughts. Simply the shrieking
sound and waiting for the blast: metal mashing into blood.

And then it stopped. The four minute warning was over.
I breathed again, forgot my fraction of their fear. It was
a test. For me, the four minute warning stays over.

Science Museum’s Dana Centre website, February 2008
‘Electric Shadow’ (Bloodaxe) 2011