This place of most uncertain status is a home for wolves,
beavers, polecats, racoon dogs, moose, boars, badgers,
lynx, Przewalski’s horses, brown bears and deer of many kinds.
The sun shines forever in the forests of The Zone, so bright
it makes me want to sneeze. The Upper Swamps have been re-flooded
and are home now to a thousand black egrets. It is a miracle.
Of course, the elephants foot, that globular mass formed
by the melted reactor core when it cooled just above
the water table, together with about two hundred tons
of nuclear fuel and fission products which exploded,
burned, melted and poured into the nooks and crannies
of the demolished reactor building and whatever else
is encased in the cracked, unstable sarcophagus, all
these are still so radioactive no one can currently
get close enough to study them and what they plan to do.
The forests whistle in an unplanned wind, the reeds
that orchestrate the world we are not present to observe.
A gate-post, rusting, plays a minor note as tree trunks fall.
for Timothy Taylor
The dogs have led their handlers to the site
and faithfully revealed the evidence:
whatever it is they find they bring to light.
They trace the truth by following the scents.
They find the corpses in the earthquake zones,
search for abducted children in the shires,
the disappeared and mutilated ones,
for extra arms and legs in funeral pyres.
They can discover decomposing flesh,
in running water or below the soil,
they look for bodies in the children’s crèche,
below the patio, in midden spoil:
the bits of gristle spat out on the ground,
blood from the beating heart, coagulate
and clot, the lymph and serum of a wound,
the smallest signature of DNA.
Awestruck and disbelieving, we look on.
Our feelings seethe below our skins or boil
as outrage shouted at these evil men,
our opposites, not getting it at all.
Homo Amnesiens, not long ago
we ate each other; not surprising then
we are experts in techniques to vex the soul
to leave it stuck beyond the reach of men:
repeated rape and drowning to the point
of loss of consciousness confuse the brain
until it is disordered and disjoint,
uncertain how it can escape the pain.
Cadaver dogs bring back the buried dead.
They’ll find us too, spread-eagled on red snow.
They fetch the bits back from the land ahead.
They will not let us say we do not know.
Planet-Struck Anvil 2011