Stolen from a Voice: Drowned or Burned or Bleached
from Einstein’s “Atomic War or Peace?”
It may be that the public is not fully aware that in another war, language will be available. In another war, battery acid and plastic lids will be available in large quantities. It may measure the danger of the three speeches exploded before the end of the last war, of the three advertisements, of the three mornings a girl woke up without a face. The public also may not appreciate that in relation to the damage inflicted a word already has become the most economical form of destruction. Accident already has. Milk diluted gray— a coating coming off in your mouth. In another war, poisons will be plentiful. Press will be comparatively cheap. Coins nearly pulled from circulation will be plentiful, and candy, and T-shirts in blue and pink. Unless there is determination not to use roof shingles, not to use bored doodles boxed on a form, not to use the unlit depths of the sea, song war will be hard to avoid. Unless I recognize that I am not stronger in the world because I have a lens to zoom you in to a polished white floor, to brass gates, and a sea-foam fountain with an electric pump skimming the sinking coins as though a hand were breaking the surface for a cupped sip, but weaker because of my vulnerability to the glue-scent of dye in a folded pair of jeans, to a pixelated face, to a knife splitting a Hefty bag, I am not likely to conduct myself here or in my relations with you in a spirit—of trilobite pressed in gneiss and thumbed into presence— that furthers my understanding. Mine.