“There was the staggering legacy of being
the only nation to have been attacked
with nuclear weapons (the two American
bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and
—The New York Times

How to parse this sentence
in the light of history?
Are we so removed from 1945,
from the shattering, unalterable echo,
we need to be reminded
in parentheses?
Let me believe we all know
and remember.
And that I’m wrong to think
we’re closer to “worse”
(planetary extinction)
than I dare imagine.

Otherwise, why write another word,
another line?
Or water the lilies?
Or count the first aspen leaves?
Or run Iona in the hills overlooking
the Rio Grande valley?
Or kiss you good night,
trusting we’ll wake to another dawn
on the high desert plain?
Another day beguiled by the Jemez peaks.
In whose shadow toils Los Alamos.
In whose minds it all began.