Wendy Rose

"I am death, the destroyer of worlds . . . the physicists have known sin and this is a knowledge they cannot lose."
J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1945
the lines of your arteries
begin to glow         making maps
finger follows afraid &
firm     pale like the alamagordo sky
the white lizards in the sand

are you humming or is it
a wayward insect or the tremble
of your deepest bones. los alamos
trinity     alamagordo     (frail robert)
jornada del muerto         you crouch
in the bunker     hands to your eyes
your light gray business suit
loosened tie         speaking to
transparent friends or to no one
in particular

"it's amazing how
the tools, the technology
trap one"
& you are amazed at the welts
so wide on your wrists, those chains
enormous from your belt.
not even your wife was awake
morning pivot of your life
the radio groaned         you twisted
the knob feeling for
an end to feeling     but the voice
said anyway how your kids went screaming
from the crotch of the plane
mouth-first onto play yard & roof top
& garden & temple, onto hair & flesh
onto steel & clay         leaving you
leaving you         leaving you
your own fingerprints     in the ashes
your vomit     your tears

From The Halfbreed Chronicles and Other Poems by Wendy Rose, The West End Press.
© 1985 Wendy Rose
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