At the Bomb Testing Site

At noon in the desert a panting lizard   
waited for history, its elbows tense,   
watching the curve of a particular road   
as if something might happen.

It was looking at something farther off   
than people could see, an important scene   
acted in stone for little selves
at the flute end of consequences.

There was just a continent without much on it   
under a sky that never cared less.   
Ready for a change, the elbows waited.   
The hands gripped hard on the desert.

William Stafford, “At the Bomb Testing Site” from Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems. Copyright © 1960 by William Stafford. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.
Source: The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 1998)
More Poems by William E. Stafford