Cynthia Hogue
That Wild Chance of Living

Death in us goes on
testing the wild
chance of living.
- Denise Levertov

This morning we hear the air
of Los Alamos is uranium-
laced. Harmless amounts,
a reporter reports. Wind
tests the currents as we drive
past, chancing to live here
and not there: As in Salgado’s
"Human Migrations," light-
filled photos of all the places
where death has gone on and
on of good people on good
days, as Lakota and Apache
once said, to die, riding
to fight the whites, that history

flawing the tranquil town surface
with ghosts, spirits, sounds from
another time’s real we can sense.
I called the angels by name,
H.D. wrote of the Blitz—
Uriel, Annael, Angel of Death,
Angel of Peace
. At the Saint
Geronimo (Michael) dances
lightning flickered in the distance.
A young Coyote whirled from the circle
of Clowns to climb the tall pole
raised in the pueblo’s center,
a flag caught on his belt
like an irreverent loincloth.

On top the pole, the dancer
slowly turned, holding
the flag whipping in wind rising
as rain came. Did you know each one
of our nation’s symbols is from war?

my friend whispered. Thunder
clouds hid Taos Mountain,
the crowd humming when sun broke
through and two
rainbows glistened a spectral
arch above an entrance
that vanished
without opening.
Within a week the bombing began.