The Glass of Alamogordo

The waters and the leaves of autumn rivers meet
where walls slam down in tunnels of retreat
from the last alarm’s outbreak of horns and bells
high in the locked rocky red hills
of visiting Montana.

The day the desert turned to glass, the seas
received the sand; it washed about our feet,
lassoing them, sent to recover us,
and the time in the bunker was
Alamogordo’s visit to the world.

The bear begins its lonely gallop
home, the switchback bend snaps boulders,
smoke sways among the meadowlarks and alders,
and standing like a burnt stump in the stirrup
you go roping cattle so they won’t kill
themselves: noose and silhouette and gale
against the gloaming.

That night jungleweight
swayed with unlocked rock and we held tight
to the tentpole we’d long dreamt of letting go,
never dreaming the stampedes of homesteads
between glass fingers to the seabeds;
never dreaming the lasso we’d be galloping to.

* Alamogordo: Airfield site of the first detonation: New Mexico, July 16, 1945. The desert surface fused to glass.
* Meadowlark: state bird of Montana.
* Alder: related to the birch.