Near Vernita Bridge—where the Columbia River flows eastward on the “Hanford Reach,” and the Department of Energy signs forbid all access—and say:
Arid Lands Ecology Reserve
All Plants and Animals Protected
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
Ask the sagebrush now to tell
What the river carried
In its waters to the sea.
Ask the river or the sun
What strange things were here begun,
What they all could well
Reveal, having witnessed what was done.
Here the mighty river’s run
On its westward journey to the sea,
Reaches toward the rising sun…
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