Cold War Creatures

Two scorpions in a bottle.

Poisonous creatures
with deadly claws
waiting to see
who would strike first.

That’s how Oppenheimer
described The Cold War—
the one that billowed
from the mushroom cloud
over Hiroshima.

In the bright flash at Los Alamos
Oppenheimer quoted Hindu scripture
seeing “the radiance of a thousand suns”
unleash the power to shatter the world.

He cried out, expecting nations
to join hands against
a common danger.

Instead America turned against him,
with surprising venom.

He stood firm,
finger pointing at the bottle,
prepared to scold the scorpions
until they recognized the need
to save each other.

Jacqueline Jules is the author of Manna in the Morning (Kelsay Books, 2021) and Itzhak Perlman's Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her poetry has appeared in over 100 publications including One Art, The Broome Review, Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Hospital Drive, and Imitation Fruit. Visit her online Read other articles by Jacqueline.