Everything you need to understand or teach At the Bomb Testing Site by William Stafford.
These lines introduce the subject of the poem: a desert lizard. With just a few words, these lines convey great heat (the sun is highest in the sky at noon), great solitude (the desert is thought of as a desolate place in which creatures and plants must struggle for survival) and great urgency (the lizard is "panting" and "tense," implying exertion or a fight-or-flight reaction). From the poem's title, we know that the lizard lives in an area upon which a bomb is about to be dropped. Use of the word "elbows" instead of "legs" attributes human qualities to the lizard, inviting the reader to identify with this creature, and implying that the lizard's fate might be ours as well.
This tiny lizard in the midst of the vast desert is made to seem yet smaller by the use of the abstract word "history." Given the context, "history" can... View more of the At the Bomb Testing Site Summary