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Residual Heat at the Decommissioned Synchrotron

by AK Krajewska

We step over fading caution tape, a Geiger counter in your hand
   ticking the steady tick of background radiation.

Up and down the textured metal stairs,
   my hands slide on cold handrails, you walk ahead.

The urge to touch you radiates through me
   wave after wave, something I cannot contain

nor indulge; the heat flows into the cauldron
   of the cyclical synchrotron. Dead machines

surge into undead hums, to shake themselves
   into shuddering destruction, cabinets full of dials,

piles of lead bricks. You swing
   the dragon mouth of the Geiger counter.

It only ticks at the same slow pace:
   no heat, but you burn, and I know it.

First published in Residual Heat under my pseudonym Aga Black.