poem24 Oct 2016 08:00 am


Summer in the exclusion zone,
days spent exploring the forgotten city,
hiking among new timbers growing
wild among abandoned buildings,
camped out each night
in a different derelict place.

Those soft and quiet Chernobyl nights,
spent together in our little canvas tent,
all hot breath and sweaty sleeping bags.

I’d expected a mutant wilderness
and was proven wrong each day
by roe deer, spotted eagle,
and endless pine & larch
to where it was easy to forget
there was a world out there
beyond the forest.

Some two hundred people
live here year-round,
a sparse few having migrating
in since the accident,
but most simply having never left
the shadow of the old reactor.

Once, we traded a group of
German hikers the last of our
peanut butter for two thin joints,
and stayed up all night long
looking at art books and laughing
on the floor of the cultural center,
you smiled and said something like,
“H.R. Geiger Counter”
and I knew I was in love.

But there is a certain
kind of stillness here,
with time not exactly forgot
but held to a looser second,
causing minutes to unravel
into days into weeks into
the first russets of autumn.

And when I ask if you’ll come back,
to the yellow-rusted ferris wheel
and little elephant slide,
to the empty public pool
and tore up library,
you simply shrug and look
off towards the sunset.

They are beautiful here,
despite the desolation
–and because of it.

Photo by Shanomag (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Trackback this Post | Feed on comments to this Post

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.