‘U Uranium’ By Robert René Galván


        Now I am become Death,
        the destroyer of worlds.

                 – lines from the Bhagavad Gita recited by
                 Robert Oppenheimer as he witnessed the first
                 nuclear blast at Trinity.

Discovered along with the seventh planet,
both namesakes of the god of the celestial ocean,
at first graced green glass and thought
to be innocuous, but then coaxed
into a controlled frenzy at Alamogordo,
the toxic plume formed a cauliflower
over the desert sand;
Oppenheimer watched from the bunker
and knew there was no retreat
for what he had done.

Three weeks later, the bay doors opened
over Hiroshima and Little Boy
descended like a dark angel,
the denizens’ shadows fixed on the pavement
and only the frame of the Domū stood
like a delicate frond of Queen Anne’s lace.

We are held hostage by that moment
and now its progeny spews poison
into the sea on the opposite shore;
a toxic shroud envelopes the tide
and we are damned.

Robert René Galván was born in San Antonio, now residing in New York City. He works as a professional musician and poet. His collections of poems are Meteors, published by Lux Nova Press and Undesirable: Race and Remembrance, Somos en Escrito Foundation Press, Standing Stones, Finishing Line Press and The Shadow of Time, Adelaide Books. His poetry was recently featured in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Azahares Literary Magazine, Gyroscope, Hawaii Review, Hispanic Culture Review, Newtown Review, Panoply, Prachya Review, Sequestrum, Shoreline of Infinity, Somos en Escrito, Stillwater Review, West Texas Literary Review, and the Winter 2018 issue of UU World. He is a Shortlist Winner Nominee in the 2018 Adelaide Literary Award for Best Poem. Recently, his poems are featured in Puro ChicanX Writers of the 21st Century (2nd Edition) and in Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art and Thought. His poems have been nominated for Best of Web and the Pushcart Prize. His poem, Awakening, was featured in the author’s voice on NPR as part of National Poetry Month in the Spring of 2021.

Art by Kate Alsbury

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