Hanford 1944

We found his body
in an oil drum behind the J&M tavern
left there like a roadkill deer
dressed in denim overalls.

Hardly a week goes by here
somebody doesn’t die–
the work grinds all our skulls
thin as wasp wings.

We poured seven foot thick
concrete walls
so remote controls
can poke the plutonium dragon.
It won’t sleep now until we do.

Still it is beautiful here.
In between the mud
and the dust storms
and the war on the radio–
an angry cloud of hornets
storming through
a broken front screen door
we can’t ever fix now.

2 responses to “Hanford 1944

  1. contrast between hardscrabble life and remote control poking the plutonium dragon is striking!


    • I had a friend who helped build the place. He was too young for the war but Hanford was hiring anyone who claimed they knew anything about construction. It was apparently a very rough place. Even today it has an eerie beauty.


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