Los Alamos Mon Amour
The second before and the eternity after
the smile that split the horizon from ear to ear,
the kiss that scorched the desert dunes to glass
and sealed the sun in its frozen amber.
Eyelids are gone, along with memories
of times when the without could be withheld
from the within; when atoms kept their sanctity
and matter meant. Should I have ducked and covered?
Instead of watching oases leap into steam,
matchwood ranches blown out like flames,
and listening to livestock scream and char
in test pens on the rim of the blast.
I might have painted myself white, or built a fallout room
full of cans and bottled water but it’s clear
you’d have passed between cracks, under doors,
through keyholes and down the steps to my cellar
to set me wrapping and tagging my dead.
So I must be happy your cells have been flung through mine
and your fingers are plaiting my DNA;
my chromosomes whisper you’re here to stay.
by Simon Barraclough
from Los Alamos Mon Amour
publisher: Salt Publishing, Cromer, 2008