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. 
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