Oppenheimer's Lament

 

Like a good doctor, I am meant to wean

the thing from the love of its mother—

I will burn it, I will make it clean—

 

careful speed forced between

the patient poles, one circling the other

like a good doctor. I am meant to wean

 

strong from weak, the seam

of fire pulling from its cover.

I will burn it, I will. Make it clean,

 

this break: let the cloven atom shine in tourmaline

brilliance until brilliance is over.

Like a good doctor, I am meant to wean

 

my hand from its only career, my heart lean

as we cross the incandescent desert together.

I will burn it. I will make it clean

 

as a glass bowl, and the cracked globe will gleam—

for in this moment, the world has no tether.

A good doctor, I am meant to wean.

I will burn it. I will make it clean.

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