When my nephew told me he didn’t think
I could get by today if I were his age,
well, what can you tell those who don’t know.
He is worried about guns, AIDs, bad drugs…
and he’s right to worry.
I’ll keep the Bay of Pigs to myself,
and the Cuban Embargo, and the Gulf of Tonkin.
He doesn’t remember the Brandenburg Gate,
or Bikini Atoll, or the Civil Air Drills.
He doesn’t know that from the day of my birth
obliteration was a daily fear, looming,
in the conversations of adults, preached
on the Evening News, taught in schools.
I am a child of the Ultimate Flame,
invented by men of science,
hidden in locked labs.
One of millions who pray at night
that we will wake up in the morning.