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Rated: 13+ · Poetry · War · #1581602
Reclaiming the meaning of two little words stolen by fools
Nine years old.

Bedrock's solid
you can build on it
tunnel in it
that's what they did
in my northern town.

I was just a kid
like any other
and mesmerized
fantasized war games
that fit the size
probable and typical,

meanwhile down there
within the secret silent heart
of my magic mountain
tortured earth
spilled out its guts
moved for the man-made
cave, a slave
to human need and greed
a sanctuary, mortuary...

like nervous ants,
they built
an ant-hill fortress
for the purpose of survival
from arrival of redemption.

Bedrock's solid
enough to repel
the most insane mistake...
(that's what they thought.)

Us kids, of course
were curious
furious were our question marks
up there we'd climb
and leave our scattered bikes behind
and peek through trees
like wild things
what could it mean?
We'd bring it back
to playgrounds, hockey rinks
and backyard haunts
debate the thing
and then forget
(until the next school air-raid drill.)

Meanwhile, my father talked
like Oppenheimer
with diagrams
and explanations
spilling out this
wealth of nations
and wristwatch dials
what kept them glowing?
pain in his eyes
for my unknowing,
then my knowing....
just how and why
mass gets so critical
it can cry
and always came my question -

a question answered
and with compassion
and always
some strange mystery
when my father
turned his eyes
away from me.....

There came
the dark, disturbing dreams
a bit of truth
was dawning, then
this secret cave
was not my friend,

a living target
on a map
right where I lived
(that's what they built)
for my protection.......
even then
it grew a grin
that wrapped itself
around my terror
and I stopped talking.

I kept thinking
unspoken thoughts
the things I couldn't say
woven straight into the fabric
distracted by the need
for magic...
but those thoughts
never, ever went away.

They built some horns
so Gabriel
could kiss our angel wings,
I guess.........
after awhile
us kids forgot
just what and why they grew
up there on rooftops
of public buildings
so adorned
up there to warn?
prepare? announce?

we just forgot
or so I thought...


When I was nine
that lazy summer
after dinner
late in August
a bunch of kids
up on the highway
leading north
and out of town
and sunlight slanting
toward twilight
while ice cream from
the roadside snackbar
licorice sticks
and Dr Pepper
pronto pups,
bazooka joe
all of it consumed the evening.

We kicked around
our money spent
'till someone shouted
"hide and seek"
and I was it
count a hundred.

"Don't you peek!"

They ran away
to hide behind
garage mechanics'
cast-off body parts
all surviving
snug and safe
just as the sun
kissed the horizon....

I leaned against
an iron pillar
sheet-metal tubing
that we decided
had to be
(just for its central-placed)
perfectly, home free for me.

And up above
where I'd forgotten
was the biggest horn of all
ascending skyward
sixty feet
with gleaming bell
over my head
silent, as always
ominously primed with purpose
while I closed my eyes
against my arms
and took a breath
began the count..............

And so I counted
to one hundred
and somewhere in the seventies

the thing went off.

I was good
I hadn't peeked
nowhere to hide
nothing to seek.

I was sure
it was the end.
a test?
I'd never heard that sound before...

and so I froze
and closed my eyes
and waited
there beneath the sound
that stopped my blood
and stole my reason.

Sometime later,
my sisters found me
in the darkness
took me home
I didn't speak.
Not then.......................

But let me tell you what I learned:

Ground Zero
ain't the ruins
of two tall towers.
This "zero"
swallows more than that.

A perfect, precise
point of impact
kissed by payload
from megatons
of tortured hydrogen
as if an over-friendly sun
just wished to hug us
to his bosom.

Ground Zero
is the epicenter
of a circle
on a map.

To draw a line
from City Hall
very little brain at all.

I know.
When I was nine,
my brain was small.

© Copyright 2009 CaptainMidnightSingforPhoebe (littleplanet at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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