Give me Water

i confess i did not know
really, what the atom bomb
on Hiroshima meant
until mid life because I wanted
something to watch before bed
before another work day on the importance of
repetition, consistency, punctuality
vs. the importance of me
i could barely close my eyes that night

what does a middle-class girl
in North America do, when she finds
herself again so deep
down that well of ignorance

write an abstract dance film script, of course
because i didn’t know how to translate my horror
into a live action story
and all i had were stories, after all
so many versions

and had to do something
with what i felt
like i was in a bizarre game of hot potato:
that documentary threw me their atomic ball,
and i either get obliterated
or throw it to the next person

a middle-class girl
who grew up North American
needed the abstraction of art
to buffer what it feels like to be slowly burned alive
or watch your children fall apart

ah, and I’m a terrible throw

but I had to try. an illusion of power
over the horror
to take a little of it into myself
the idea of some relief
for that moment of suffering
that seems to have passed
into the innocence
of sunlight in the sky
on this present day

does atomic radiation just go away
eventually become safe again?
does human anguish just go away
with that generation? the past is not a dumping ground
even these landfill sites must be dealt with
even theses things become an environmental liability

© lyw


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