Thursday, January 31, 2008

Miriam Sagan: A-BOMB HAIBUN

When I first moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico many years ago I was struck by the presence of the atom bomb, which was invented up on the hill of Los Alamos and tested down in the desert of the Jornado del Muerto. It was then of course dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

indigo pattern
of the kimono –
burned on to skin

When a recent forest fire raged in Los Alamos, people were worried. “We’re downwind from Los Alamos,” they said, as if we hadn’t been all along.

Los Alamos lights
twinkling in the dusk –
like anyplace else

I made a pilgrimage south to the Trinity Test Site where the first bomb exploded.

I walk the crater –
sand fused to glass –
wind in the sage brush

you can buy
a T-shirt, emblazoned
with a mushroom cloud

Last summer, we had a Japanese exchange student staying with us, Akiko. The anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima is celebrated as a peace day here on our Plaza. Akiko and my daughter, two teen-age girls, went off with a festive air to listen to the bands, eat snacks, connect with friends. They had no apparent sense of melancholy. Tragedy was remote, something their grandparents – who had been enemies – might speak of. I was the one thinking of history.

they turn up
in odd nooks – origami
folded peace cranes

by Miriam Sagan
Santa Fe, New Mexico

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