Note: Winner of the 2006 Kudzu Poetry Prize
Not since that August morning in 1945
have I had a good night’s sleep.
The hoot-owl never lifts a wing
nor do the crickets stop in the grass
when I walk the road alone,
another creature of the night.
On my knees at odd wakings
I ask the Lord the difference between
heroism and murder,
between duty and desire
and what it means to “love thine enemies.”
I can’t sleep.
I saw “Little Boy” coddled and cradled
while he was yet asleep.
I remember the innocent dew failing
and heard the croaking of a frog.
They couldn’t have done it without me:
Colonel Tibbets, Oppenheimer, Harry Truman…
on the brightest darkest day
in the history of the world.
You may not wish to shake my hand—
and then again, you might.
It’s the hand that did it.
I’m Private First Class Chalmos Wright
, Three-Mile, Kentucky
The man who put the fuel in the Enola Gay.