top of page

Atomic Theory II - Thomas Simmons

When I was a four-year-old in Lincoln

I catapulted over my tricycle handle bars and

My right knee kissed sidewalk and came away

with a galaxy of spider-web blood

I was overcome; I limped back

Worse, when I arrived on the stoop

My mother had not yet come home

I had to wait, tears streaming everywhere

Blood on my knee and on my so-tiny cuticles

Waiting one hundred thousand centuries for her

This minor event occurred to me – I recalled it –

in the depths of the Earth where one can touch

the concrete rebar which reinforced the yards

of poured concrete wrapping around the launch

control pill which served as a vest for the men

inside of it waiting to turn two keys and deliver

10 atomic pizzas – ‘world-wide delivery in 30 minutes

or less or your next one’s free’ it says painted on

the 8-ton blast door and on the fridge magnet

reproductions they sell in the Minuteman II gift

shop store with ‘Bert the Turtle’ t-shirts for the kiddies

The concrete skin allowed the men to work undisturbed

by mushrooming distractions upstairs even if they felt

the birthday balloons popping across the prairie above

The rebar reinforcements are thicker than

a tiny Tommy’s leg at the knee; that’s some thick rebar


Thomas Simmons is a professor at the Knudson School of Law where he teaches future lawyers about future interests and serves as the faculty advisor to the Saint Thomas More Society. He is a lifelong South Dakotan and the author of Tod Browning Loose Leaf Encyclopedia (Cyberwit 2020), S is for Sentence (Cyberwit 2021), and Soviets on Venus (Finishing Line Press (forthcoming)). He enjoys beets, marimba music, puddles, and Japanese pottery. He has never had a cavity. He used to teach fourth graders.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page