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Published: Wed Jul 1 2009
Wosene Worke Kosrof, The Inventor V (detail), 2022, acrylic on linen. Courtesy of Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
Fat Man

How fat were they? They were really fat. —James Taylor, Shocked and Amazed

This larded fat’s no £5 barrow swine:
like Barnum’s sperm whales, blubber boiled in brine,
his salt-packed ham hocks weigh a quarter ton.
His gut churns, Globe of Death or smoked pork bun;
the clutch jaw in his suckling skull’s unhinged.
Greased, adiposean, but barely singed
when P.T.’s curios went up in flame—
tusked waxworks split; king cannibal courts maimed;
those sperm whales blistered in their rendering tanks—
Big’s brisket muscles, buttered heart to flanks,
chilled like the cold cream lining of a fox
fur wrap. Too clot to hug. Lugged off, a Bock’s-
car bomb. Pitched like a pack of magic, Big
blots Nagasaki. Flying fetal pig
or fetid sumo, not a Trinity
test Gadget, but a warhead-slash-divinity,
slick sideshow Buddha, last Fat Man on Earth
or in the Milky Way with planetary girth.

Hilary S. Jacqmin earned her BA in English from Wesleyan University and her MA from the Writing Seminars of The Johns Hopkins University. Her poetry has appeared in The Urbanite, The Sewanee Theological Review, and Iron Horse Literary Review. She is an editorial assistant at Harvard University Press, where she also serves as in-house managing editor of The Journal of Legal Analysis. (updated 4/2009)

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