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Knowing the Bomb So Well

By Patricia Monaghan

After the nightly news and four martinis
he quietly begins to draw the inner workings

of the bomb, knowing the explosion needed
to ignite fission does not itself compromise

the real event; how compartmentalized the bomb,
of necessity, is, to keep the elements

separate until it impacts on target;
with what care the bomb is timed so that

from the moment of release it proceeds
inexorably to detonation.

It is necessary then to explain his drawing
in detail to the children, before they go to bed.

After a few moments he quizzes them:
What are the proper names of the bombs dropped

on Nagasaki, Hiroshima? Who captained
the Enola Gay? How does a prisoner

of war answer the enemy? The children
do not speak. They know release has occurred,

the elements are colliding, impact is inevitable.
It is always a first-strike situation. Always.

Added: Monday, June 30, 2014  /  From "Homefront" (Wordtech Editions 2005). Used with permission.
Patricia Monaghan

Patricia Monaghan (1946-2012) died on November 11, 2012 in her Wisconsin home, Brigit Rest, in the arms of her beloved husband Michael McDermott. Homefront is a collection about the effect of war on veterans' return to their families and the damage to both. Patricia was a poet, scholar, spiritual pioneer and practitioner, activist, gardener and endlessly energetic creator.

Patricia co-founded the Black Earth Institute with Michael and recently co-founded the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology. The Institute is dedicated to artists serving the causes of inclusive spirituality, healing and protecting the earth and social justice. Patricia published over 20 books including many of poetry.  She was awarded a Pushcart Prize among many others. She was also an active supporter of Split This Rock. Monaghan presented on the panel Giving Voice to the Silence/d at Split This Rock Poetry Festival:Poems of Provocation and Witness 2010.

Other poems by this author