2022 Pi Day Contest First Prize
Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
by Mark Alberto McKnight
A white explosive so bright; white sun ivory eyesight emptiness, Rothko’s emptiness,
and he saw bleached suns carved in- burned into his eye.
Silently, all in Anatoli Bugorski’s brain.
Researcher in Protvino.
A temperate morning.
A simple breakfast.
A physicist’s labor - Bugorski, he discovered particles’ violent cost: Invisible, zero pain.
Toxic roentgens in his encephalon induced seizures.
A cosmic beam barbecuing dreams.
An ordinary breath.
An unmerciful personal Chernobyl.
Invisible particle debris, so absently weightless, yet near infinite in power.
His mind is a…
A singing starstruck violin playing beautiful melodies in a cage, poisoned, irradiated…
“Soviet Union”, a way to nickname an old loneliness.
Golden heaven king.
Scarlet saccharine secretary man.
Cold fire vodkas gracefully swallowed under faint buttermilk light.
Bugorski at an inn.
A strange… an empty bar.
Beef stroganoff unwanted…
“I am possible..!” says Bugorski.
“I- I- I- picture blue skies. Wilderness. An eternity with a brilliance!”
He inhales feverishly.
He’s coughing blood in a… a tablecloth.
Again, death comes beckoning.
August will come, surely…
It is beautiful here,
Bugorski concludes, whose mind remembers the brightness.