A Brief History of the Bikini
by Caitlin Doyle
“The 1946 U.S atomic test at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific inspired a French designer to underscore the explosive effect of his new line of shockingly revealing women’s swimsuits by calling them ‘bikinis.’
- Oxford Companion to American Military History
Observe the chasm made when the atom split:
a gap between the breasts and pelvis, the mid-
riff’s cover blown. Where did the fabric that fused
the top and bottom go? So whole it hid
the stomach without a seam. But the belly-button
waited behind it like a bull’s-eye. The bomb
was never far enough away. Chain reaction -
the two-piece multiplying (by division) the sum
of energy in small amounts of matter.
So many summers the body wasn’t there,
invisible and free to show itself
to nobody. Then boom.
Observe our middles: bare
by subtraction. Our skin remembers only air.