Death and the Road to Awe

Oppenheimer’s brilliant light cast a shadow so great
upon the mesa that the yawning maw of humanity stood
stock still in shock, in awe, in an evolutionary grimace
for days to come. Trinity, he called it. Vishnu, he said,
with his multiple arms waving
a flag, a border, a swastika, a bayonet, an atomic star.
This man who dined with Communists, tithing crumbs
from academia to Jews fleeing Hitler’s brown shirts, was he Prometheus?
This man, as brilliant as a flash of light so magnificent that it creates
its own weather, was relieved. Was he Zeus? He clasped his hands
together and bowed upon the stage of the world. Relieved.
Einstein knew. The race was vital, the prize was heinous,
success was a curse-laden salvation, a double edge sword.
Curses alive with prediction and promise. Horror, tangible
in the mushroom cloud that escorts awe. Humans reduced
to shadow in the blink of a nation’s eye. Reduced to shadow.
The Genie let loose from the bottle. This was pithos bestowed
upon Pandora. Oppenheimer, hungry puppet, dancing with devils
in the alluring light of stars. We, each of us, sleep
our eyes wide open, with the Devil yet never fail
to marvel at the beasts that spring from our desire and our need.


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