“In a small shed at the top of a 100-foot-tall steel tower deep in the New Mexico desert, Donald Hornig sat next to the world’s first atomic bomb in the late evening of July 15, 1945, reading a book of humorous essays.”
                                                                                              From Hornig’s obituary: New York Times, Jan. 26 2012                                           

One: Donald Hornig

               In Alamogordo, they say, the sun came up twice that day. So much like a God
                    who threatens glory and punishment. It was the most beautiful show
                      I’d ever seen. The hot start of a star, then a white bloom. The sand
                          broke into tiny blades of light green radioactive glass. Some
                            believed the monster spark would ignite the stratosphere,
                               but the promise was so much stronger than our fear.
                                           The explosion was like a birth, everything
                                              with the click of a button. Instead, 
                                                        in lightning, I baby-sat
                                                         the plutonium. I read
                                                          aloud, while it slept,
                                                             and, then,  I put
                                                              down my book
                                                              and connected
                                                               the switches.

Two: Lili Hornig

Working in secret in Los Alamos
I, too, was a plutonium

scientist. Brilliant
& cocky, the men’s schemes

were considered first & desire
to end the war

was overwhelming. Like a campfire
in the wilderness my conscience

flickered; with others I
recommended a live spectacle

of the bomb, leaders
of nations would watch

& surely lay down
weapons after witnessing

such power, destruction,
military dominance. It

was never under serious
consideration. We all carry

some guilt but big boys
like big toys.

Three: Annie Hawkes

In 1950, Annie Hawkes, a seven-year-old in Alamogordo, would gather up green glass pebbles formed by nuclear tests and take them home in boxes to hide under her bed because they glowed in the dark. She and two of her sisters developed numerous cancers, as well as bone and thyroid diseases. Hawkes says 95 percent of the girls she went to school with in Alamogordo eventually contracted some form of cancer or thyroid disease.

in New Mexico
radioactive grasses
food for cows in spring