Chernobyl Children


The wig that hides your hairless misery
attracting as it does our crippled sight
adorns your face with lifeless mimicry
and brushes your pale brow with feathered light;
I hear the teardrops rattling in your skull
whose clock ticks out you Geiger-counted hell.

Your lashless eyelids freeze an endless stare
that burrows deep into the nervous smile;
dark eyes rain forever in despair
cold fire on your thirteen fragile years
your haunted smile no eyebrow to express
the question that outspills its emptiness.

Some of your siblings drink men’s poison yet
to kill the cancer breeding in their blood,
and other’s lie already in the earth
burning away the radio-active hours
stained for ever, even into dust.
Their clicking ghosts will haunt a thousand years.

This horror that I see in your short life
appals my intellect, outrages me,
but chills before your helpless calm:
the mind as always insulates the heart
in case cold seep too deep, pulse pause,
death’s clock begin to tick in time with yours.


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