Bomb Pulse with Culpability

Los Alamos, 1945

Grandpa dances blast shadows ragged
on a clothesline sheepish
with tobacco-stained t-shirts

Grandpa every shredded remainder
of every fight he ever fissioned
with the cratered O of his lips

pacing the stockade on base
cackling like a fox knocking the heads off chickens
recounting that lost dog summer he left

everything a sixteen year-old kid could want behind
for three square meals & an atom he’d never met,
grade school, three room house, nine sleepers gone vaporous,

how a Los Alamos County sheriff’s deputy
transfigured from his fist
a browbeaten drunk

Grandpa conjured each MP by name,
called to his shadow baked into the earth
outside a New Mexico dive bar like a bomb crater

when they all piled-in & drove on out
the sun redeemed them nothing but a tooth,
the whiff of exhaust, blood & dirt abandoned

in a bootprint, drag-marks the passage of something
as terrible as breaking open the earth’s harbored atoms
out where desert throttles sand

what was left behind in glassed epitaphs? what scars
were left across Chihuahuan twilight? what childhoods
bloomed & passed in the double-quick mutation of hours?

we’re still looking for his shadow
where it’s stuffed in a mislaid gunny sack
(cancer-bound, half-mad) in the cedar chest
in the crawlspace that always gets the last laugh