Coming to Terms with Your Nuclear Heritage: Deploying


Every use becomes a metaphor


for using. Every metaphor for using


becomes a reason for using, a link in the chain


that has evolved as a chain of pure thought,


a chain that fattens or shrinks as a thought


may fatten or shrink in any given moment, untouched


as it goes in the grove of the mind. Each tree


makes way for the next while managing


to feed itself fully on the light. Wait.


Were we speaking of metal or wood


just now? Am I lost?


The goal, after all:


The word Manhattan


is a woman wishing so much


for affection


that no one will give her any;


and, for added irony,


the general’s home address. Reorient.


As he would say, Recast necessary but unsavory


violations of logic, not


see what is possible, but


see what is possible




Seen through, his language-environments


have grown greedy, speak


nuclear heritage,


define bomb


as birthright. Right. Ask:



Was your grandfather in the war?


Does your dad work at the lab?


Why are you writing about this, again?





Sara Sams is a poet, essayist & literary translator from Oak Ridge, TN. She earned a B.A. in English from Davidson College and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Arizona State University. She has taught ESL in Granada, Spain & creative writing at the National University of Singapore. She currently teaches composition for second language learners at ASU.


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