Summer of ‘62
It’s an anxiety like background radiation, like always hearing the siren at the end of the world. And though every minute carries risk in its slim moving hand, this is the risk of exponential increase, fallout maps, contaminated wheat fields. It is the eight-wheeled transport from the power plant crawling through town and a school bus poking along behind it. Roentgen labeled X-rays for X, the cipher—most accurate of all these names. No, we can’t prove his leukemia was caused by it. No, we don’t know how much is in our garden. No, our municipal water plant cannot remove it. It’s like playing poker, when the other side has four wild cards and you get none. Standing on the top of Yucca mountain, our grandchildren’s great-grandchildren will be playing with the same set of cards.