The Amerindian in the Godzilla Suit
A prominence divorced from the sun, coming down
To earth like a god or monster in a vision
Everyone’s forced to have, but this time, in lieu of
Turning soil into cinders, this tongue of forked
Fire, this dark wing with edges sharp as swords cleaves
Into the polar ice of ages past and calves
Into the once again upon our times bergs and
Brash and a creature part dragon, part anguish.
You think this is the dream Einstein was hoping for,
That he foresaw hydrogen in bed with itself,
Conceiving a light not of this earth? Not the sort
A thought experiment ought to set loose. Hotter
Now than Hiroshima or Nagasaki which
Happened first, which we’re still turning over, burning
In our minds, trying out other experiments,
Thoughts, conceptions —which is why we’re pulling this old
Tarnished dragon from the ice, stretching skin tall as
A skyscraper, letting it breathe hot as a jet.
And now we find Dene men carried the pitchblende
From Canada and died of radiation too.
Their ghosts glow, restless aurora borealis,
Looking for forgiveness for their part in the crime.
Forgive their ignorance. They haunt Hiroshima,
Nagasaki, the world. One of them wants the job.
How tiny Mount Fuji, how little are earthquakes
Once a great dragon takes the stage. Please allow me.
Forever I’ve been one of the invisibles.
I’ll whip off my blacks and do the dragon’s dance.
I promise to honour its magnificence and
Its strange regalia. I know about magic,
Know the very wrist jerk you need to pull those loose
Leather pants on —tada!— both trouser legs at once.
Yes, it’s partly clown and part tyrannosaurus
Rex, a parody of charisma sans the sex.
Give me the chance to make that entrance, to go live
On the screen in that green wrinkling kimono,
To draw breath like a long sword or fire, to fan
The claws out, one who almost loses his balance
And his composure to his own behind, stepping
Onto the city with the gait of a geisha.
My tummy and tail and untouchable skin
Condition might inspire amusement and pity.
But my eyes with pupils vertical slits, my teeth
Long knives, will forfend identification.
Let me step from behind the red curtain, complete
The radioactive invention with rhythmic
Feet. Abbreviated arms will embrace the snakes
Of electric power lines snapping free, sparking
Between towers. Leaping lizard? Let it be me,
Tall as a thunderhead, dancing around the downed
Town of Tokyo. Oh great samourai nation, you
Know these moves, the war dance repurposed for peace.
You’re my audience, you who did die and you who
Haven’t yet. And you who will be born. Understand.
With your forgiveness, your kind permission, we dead
Will finally exit beyond the black curtain.
Page 10-12, Arc Poetry Magazine 84, October 2017.