Radium Girl

Painting my nails, I giggled as radiance lit up the room. I passed chirpy gossip of boyfriends to my factory friends while brushing on numbered clock faces so time would appear visible in the darkest places for customers. Liquid radium, I didn’t know it was poison soaking through my skin and bones. Years later, what once blazed gold, spilled inside my blood, became sickness, weakness. Who will pay for such novelty—malady, this breaking of bones, disintegration of body, of time. How can it be that what once glowed brightly has turned so dark, so final.

Maureen Sherbondy’s forthcoming books are Scar Girl, from Finishing Line Press, and Eulogy for an Imperfect Man, due in 2012. 

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