A Call to Action

1962 was a good year to halt bomb tests

the Navajo dig deeply
the ancient mountain
mother
uranium ore
physics of the atom
and neutron
splitting in two
manufacturing god’s light
chain reacting
love letters
spare tires
ticky tacky houses
shelters of red white and blue
here at the toyota car
dealership recall
sipping coffee
at a counter of free
pastries
I meet Joanne:
who buried her younger brother
two days ago
after battling three cancers
from the age of 18
he died from melanoma of the eye
both brother and sister began with
hodgkin’s disease
Joanne battled two cancers
how surprising: we three
(triplets)
of the land of the crab
strangers and one dead brother
they drank from a well
of dry cleaner chemicals
both diagnosed in 1959
the year of my birth
the year of nuclear fall out
her voice is crisp metallic airless
radiation burn
in her chest and throat
in this room full of car owners
a long island suburban highway
I tell her of my work
and my cancer
the deaths I know, too
what comfort can I give?

--March, 2010