Willowbrook, CA, 1944
It was Sunday & on the radio, after talk
of faraway happenings, the try for Tinian
(an unknown place), Gordon MacCrae crooned,
oh what a beautiful morning. I saw
the ’41 Studebaker glisten in the sun
& I wore a tie & bibbed overalls.
Then the earth shook so hard
backyard poles hopped, wires whipped.
Inside, cupboards yawned & emptied.
Father raised me to the stable sky.
I held onto his eyes as the ground quaked.
His face flutter-danced in my mind.
His fear electrified my hair.
That night we lay huddled by the door.
Waning shudders came, erratic shuffles,
as if the earth, off balance, drew back,
recovered its benevolence,
yet I dreamt of flames in father’s eyes.
The tremors that come, that strike us
suddenly, I had had no idea,
nor that, faraway, on a wind-raked peak,
frozen bodies dream beneath mats & gravel––
children whose fathers lifted them––fathers
whose hands were not stayed––golden llamas
surround them to blunt gods’ sharp ways––
nor of wars within us, between us, upon us.