Anna Leahy

The Day of Fire and Light

After J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1904-1967



When he says, I am become death,

the destroyer of worlds, who exactly in the world


does he think he is? He has created

all fire and light and future


and suddenly the chance

that the future can go forever


up in smoke, as if time’s potential absence

has now been named. He is, he does.


He reels with giddy naming, solemn naming,

the stolen naming that becomes him.


The implosion becomes a star’s crater.

The desert becomes glass.


The impossible becomes the remembered.

The words shimmer and cut, radiant shards


from the mouth of decay.

Thank goodness he said something. Had he said


nothing, we would be left with the impression

that something could have been said.

Anna Leahy

<em>Edit Poetry</em> Anna Leahy

Anna Leahy is the author of Constituents of Matter, which won the Wick Poetry Prize, and of two chapbooks. Her work has appeared recently in journals such as Crab Orchard Review, Post Road, The Pinch, and The Southern Review and in anthologies such as A Face to Meet the Faces and City of Big Shoulders. She co-writes Lofty Ambitions, a blog about aviation and spaceflight, science, and writing, and contributes to The Huffington Post. She teaches in the MFA and BFA programs at Chapman University, where she directs Tabula Poetica.