• Lammergeier Staff

Approximating Fathoms | Ceridwen Hall

Updated: Sep 22


March 2020



We stretch our arms—to transfer my spare key —



an almost fathom, though we remain above sea level. To launch nuclear



strikes from a submarine, two people must turn keys in panels distanced



beyond armspan—a measure intended to diminish accidental transmission;



since armspan equals roughly height, six feet is the minimum. A fathom,



from the Old English for embrace, but to say goodbye we reach



both arms out, like wings mirroring wings. There isn’t a protocol yet



because exact risk can’t be fathomed. The distanced keys weave



mutual cooperation into acts of immeasurable consequence. How far



droplets can travel is still undetermined. About leash length, I think



to myself, or two grocery carts, as the signs say, or my brother prone



on the ground. A hand shorter, I attempt to fathom: launch orders



must be checked against a code, confirmed to match



before the keys are turned. Our lungs convey unknown after



unknown, but my friend is a not a risk-



taker. We concur. Under shallow breath, our hands guess



half a fathom between us.






Ceridwen Hall is a poet and educator from Ohio. She is the author of a chapbook, Automotive (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, Pembroke Magazine, Tar River Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, and other journals. You can find her at www.ceridwenhall.com.

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