The forbidding sugar of hot desert sand
and hallucinations of mushroom clouds
linger in a city where you can still get pie
with a fried egg on top, where you might catch
a glimpse of UFO dazzle. Even the lampposts bloom
into alien heads. Barbed wire might keep out enemies
of the American dream, where the tiny famous lizard’s legs
cling to sad, solid rock. On the Trinity site, that sand
turned to green glass. The scientists were unsure
about igniting the whole earth’s atmosphere, nevertheless
the violet light demanded goggles. Shadows of ranch houses,
their neat boxes burned deep into the ground.
Jeannine Hall Gailey is Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington, and the author of Becoming the Villainess and She Returns to the Floating World. Her poems appear in American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, and Prairie Schooner. She teaches part-time at National University’s MFA program and volunteers for Crab Creek Review.