Jade to cobalt light pervades
the abyss.
Fish like fire and diamonds
haunt the slumbering hulks ,
reminders, rust corroded,
of old passions
wrapped in white and yellow skins,
when these geographic specks
commanded headlines.

Departed from front pages now,
they might have nurtured hopes
of their return to fabled charms,
while the elders worked
each vanished vessel into legend.

But now they must relate
in their romances
stories of the burning cloud,
the reason for a vanished isle .


*Eniwitok, the Pacific atoll on which the first H-bomb was tested, is still not habitable. Its former residents remain in exile.