31 August dVerse: Back to School

Photo by Andrew Amistad on Unsplash


I’ve become vaguely dubious about the roller blinds in our classroom.  My teacher pulls the blinds down every Wednesday at noon, just before the air raid siren blares, and I don’t see how curling into a ball under my lift-top desk with my back to the window helps me survive a nuclear bomb. And our teacher shouts, Desk! Shelter! Bomb bomb bomb! And the moment is caught in chalk dust riding on a streamer of pure silver sunlight, and my heartbeat slowly recovers. I’m 10, some are 11, and we’re rehearsing for annihilation. I almost  forgot that I existed back then.  I forgot that I kept myself at arm’s length because my brain overthinks everything. Cuba, Khrushchev and A-bombs, air raids, arrows pointing toward shelters with tinned meats and peaches, and somewhere in my history I hear those words repeated into today, “Shelter.”

Bits of wood and glass
The air burned an orange glow
Flying back to Hell

Written for dVerse Poets. Haibun Monday: Back to School. Photo by Andrew Amistad on Unsplash. There will be some who think this is fiction, or an embellishment. I assure you, it is not. This is a glimpse of what it was like to grow up during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War that followed afterward.  Shared with #APoemADay on Twitter   ©Misky 2021

33 responses to “31 August dVerse: Back to School”

  1. Ah yes, remember it well — having our desktops protect us from nuclear bombs, and if things really got bad, we could go the the fallout shelter in the basement of the school. Nice take on the prompt.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Interesting look back at that time and place. In my generation it was Hitler taking over Europe and Japan bombing Pearl Harbor. Seems each generation has its crises, and it is a good reminder, as we face today’s crises, that this too shall pass.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember tornado drills in school, where we had to file out of the classroom and into the hall, but never a bomb drill. It must have been confusing and frightening at the very least. Oh the lies we tell children, “Everything will be ok.”

    In school’s pandemic
    mode, warnings are worn all day long
    childhood’s end.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an experience. Makes me realize whatever hurdles today’s children face with masks and distancing is not unusual as every generation has taken on new and different threats to learning and the freedom of education. Very vivid Haibun.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! On this sunny day, in KItchener (Canada), I was drawn into your poem, words with photo truly like a time capsule. Perhaps, during the Cuban missile crisis, I was an overly keen nine-year-old but I was truly worried and scared after hearing so many scary stories about the fact that our world could perish. Attending a Catholic school, prayers were always in order!


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