Snow white windmills turn lazily on

the mountain top, typically blocked by haze.

Mountains form a giant sloping bowl.

Some people call it nuclear soup

others say we are protected by a bubble, radioactive.

Go to Hill Top when the sun goes down, where Joey’s vigil took place.

There the city’s lights outshine the stars above.

A forgotten city amongst the trees, tucked

down in the mountains.

The city’s borders never move an inch.

This poem is excerpted from “The Manhattan Project,” a chapbook manuscript depicting the locale and history of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Known as “The City Behind the Fence” and “The Secret City,” Oak Ridge was the home of the atomic bomb and about 30,000 citizens of multigenerational families: a city laid in the shadow of the horrific events from World War II. Using found information, reference material, and personal narrative, the poems from this manuscript have been constructed to detail the city’s history, mystery and cynicism. The speaker’s voice is the voice of the city.

Amanda Owens

Amanda Owens is graduating from Cumberland University with a degree in English and a minor in Creative Writing. Her manuscript, "The Manhattan Project," focusing on her native city of Oak Ridge, was completed as a Senior Project with advisor Sandee Gertz. She will be working as an emergency services dispatcher after graduation, continuing to write in her spare time.

NOVUS Literary and Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN