Rhadha Marcum

Issue #
September 27, 2015

In the Making

                      But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again
                      into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.

                                                                                                              Sun Tzu

Suddenly cold, a shuddering rain
freezes our road a broken mirror—

Each day, I study the patterns
of dispersal, seed-heads released on a gust,

Grandfather’s Los Alamos canyons
come to mind (his experiments, his

mind fused, unfocused
now). What are the networks,

the mighty dendrites,
trying to say?


What secrets, what
cased implosions, Grandfather,
what fission—was it all
nature’s design? Now your brain—
what are we making?—
whispers bombs. The wind talks
a tin can flat. And after Hiroshima,
did you thirst, as we do,
for an undone God, the mind
like so many crows—burnt kindling—
suddenly floating?


In the field
of physics, fatality flowers

as disintegration products
megatons of TNT—

lenses imploding
toward a volatile core

where isotope
fizzles in inert neurons,

a reference frame
of plaques and tangles.


The networks report that today
many (again, in our names)
were killed, incendiary.
At twilight, the aspen here burn
without burning—lights left on
accidentally in the grove.


Without effort, the laws of physics erase
the words for moon sunk to its last horn-tip,
erase another hundred faces.

For us, there isn’t a day
the naming is enough: Alzheimer’s, nuclear
arsenals (your truth fused, classified, secretly

detonated). Somewhere nearby, a neighbor drops
a box of tools. This morning, long ago,
my husband and I made love.

Poetry, like God (bomb, sarcophagus),
is just something beautiful to die inside.
Now, there go the geese—a fleet of facts,

of tiny hearts—pencil marks on their way.

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