“[Louis Réard], stitching together a napkin’s worth of newsprint-patterned fabric, achieved something smaller than Heim’s Atom, which he named after the Bikini Atoll, the remote island where atoms were being split in atomic bomb tests that very week.[1]



Stomach like ripples downriver. A climate-warmed sea of glacier melt.

This is what happens with extremes of weight, of loss, this unzipping

of the skin like a sweater you can quit wearing, hang up for steaming,

send to the cleaners for Martinizing in a vat of chemical juice. How


very apt, then, the name for the cloth geometry that should no longer

bare my body, once voluptuous, now a mere x-ray, taken from a place

where zero would grow, the landscape exploded over and over to nuclear

snow, both polar and lunar, poor quake of dust left to collect at the ocean’s


opening, an atoll zapped uninhabitable from twenty-three weapons

tests in twelve years. Trust that leadership did as little here as

the strings that held four patches of triangles together when relocating

islanders, exhausted and acquiescent because that harsh journey had


already begun, every cell corrupted, melded, the face of a cut wheel

of cheese under flames, turned dark and sloughed off. Quashed, they chose

no oceans for themselves. Another example of angary: my gut, overzealous,

overtaken, subjected as room and board for dangerous fauna and flora


to thrive. Trussed up, I’m svelte, I’m silk. Bare, I’m a bowl of milk for

a cat to lick. Or origami: What’s left of my butt speaks the shape of jaguar,

zebra, quail. A Rorschach of species, all flight or cellulite. Post-viral, I

exhume blame for this dichotomy. I require more security from you: engineer,


Réard, trademark. O Lycra. O Spandex. Delete the bra and thong. Bandage

me up a tank, some boy shorts. Or, un-jolted by gaze, the eye’s governance,

fuck off to qualms about how to wear you. Uproot me, call me Marshallese.

Damaged backyard goods, we always know who’s welcome, and where.


[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/07/05/a-scandalous-two-piece-history-of-the-bikini/