The rumor is

there’s a bomb shelter

beneath our little town.

Room for one hundred

people. A two thousand

pound door will slam shut

eternally beneath an orange grove.

No one over sixty-five

need buy a lottery ticket

for the 1960s kitchen stocked

with antibiotics, the gun room,

or the mildewed tunnel of seeds

left to propagate

along an exit yet unearthed

back into the civilized world.

Let’s call it the tribulation,

nuclear, rapture, asteroid,

a Biblical infestation

of palmetto bugs

(winged cockroaches),

Armageddon and all

I’ve ever seen myself

is a speakeasy

hidden beneath a fringed rug

in front of the reservation desk

at The Lakeside Inn downtown

where it is said that Al Capone,

with his knifed jaw, raised lead

crystal glasses of moonshine:

Salute, Cin Cin,

to the frenzied blasts of light,

all those barking faces,

loose and jawing down.


Alas, Babylon was a novel written in 1959 by Pat Frank
about a nuclear holocaust as experienced in the setting of
a surviving small town in Florida, called Fort Repose
(Mount Dora) where a bomb shelter was built in response
to the novel.