One of the expendables – by Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy is the author of seventeen novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers; the National Bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women, and the classic Woman on the Edge of Time; eighteen volumes of poetry including The Hunger Moon and The Moon is Always Female, and a critically acclaimed memoir Sleeping with Cats.

Marge Piercy recited this poem at the Rally at the Reactor on May 19, 2013.

Cape Cod is wed to the mainland
by two bridges, on mild week
ends and all summer fed
by miles of backed up cars.

Right across Massachusetts
Bay, one of the worst nuclear
power plants, clone of Fukishima
leaks into the bay. On its roof

three thousand spent rods fester.
Vulnerable to tsunami, flooding,
attack from the air or land
it squats menacing us, polluting.

We who live here all year, our
hundred thousands of summer
visitors, we have been deemed
expendable since we cannot

by any means be evacuated.
“Shelter in place” means breathe
in, absorb through your skin,
drink, swallow, eat radiation.

Your home will be uninhabitable
should you happen to survive
at least a while before cancer
dissolves your organs. The fragile

land, the pure water we cherish
will be tainted for decades. Fish,
birds, your dog and cats, raccoons,
squirrels, coywolves expendable

too. We count for nothing
compared to profits for a utility
housed in New Orleans where
you’d imagine they know floods.

We’re the throwaway people,
not as real as corporations.
Chop off the crooked arm
of Cape Cod and let us bleed.

Copyright 2013 Marge Piercy
    Box 1473, Wellfleet MA 02667

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