Only at the end of our visit
as we left in the brown dawn
did we see the nuclear facility over the town,
a landmark even through fog.
We knew very little at that time;
while visiting the cancer and Alzheimer’s patients,
though glad that conversation never stalled uncomfortably,
we had no inkling of the problem.
My parents had been raised there, but said nothing.
That silence still gets handed on; warnings fail
on what can only be described as a musical level.
Once, at school, we were shown a film of the devastation,
which I understood. It haunted my mouth for years.
Even now, if I see panicked crowds running, I go down,
until some bystander revives me
with language sane in the extreme.