Chernobyl

They are catching sunlight in Chernobyl
And turning it to power.

In radiated earth
Where no human can live
For 24,000 years
Like some kind of curse,
Like some kind of magic
Because now animals
Return: the moose, deer, beaver, owls,
Brown bear, lynx—
“We came down here late last spring
And howled, and the young wolf pups
howled back
from the top of that hill,” the scientist said.

And now is not a time
For toothless hope
To suck the empty calories
Of pretty symbols.

Now is the time
To take the old world in our jaws
And gnash and rip and crush
Until the cars and pipelines all lie useless
Empty of their toxic blood.

The wisest counselors in all the lands
Gathered, deliberated, and they said
We have a dozen years
To act, to end the lives we know
To save the hope of life.
There is no documented historic precedent
For the changes we must make.
And there is terror in that statement,
The freezing of the body
In the flash of poison light
It knows it can’t outrun.
But, also, isn’t there some joy
In knowing this can’t last?
These fluorescent lights,
Linoleum halls,
8-hour, on-feet shifts
For less than living wage,
And home to dinners warmed in plastic
In front of screens on which we watch the loop
Of predators appointing predators
And pretending it is justice
And we must wait, and vote,
And maybe, maybe,
No. There is no choice.
It all must end.

In its place,
Must grow so many gardens
That we harvest, carry squash and beans,
Or yucca, sweet potatoes
Into so many village squares
To heat with sunlight,
Cooking up a soup we share, and, satisfied
We howl
And the young wolf pups will howl back.

Image Credit slawojar 小山 / CC BY-SA 3.0

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