BURNT RUBBER AT THE DEAD ZONE
Elena has a new art, her brushes
this black Kawasaki Big Ninja, ZZR-1100, plus a radiation detector.
Girl of speed and silence,
technology beyond fingers, a stretched drum-skin of abyss
and straw where the Monkey Law of Curiosity is written in poison.
She rides through Chernobyl taking photos – the Luminous Law of Poke.
Snow promises “reconciliation”.
A few declining shards of occupation, even tour guides
but visitors cannot stay -
canned by quiet, the innate dissonance
of human clutter without the tribe…
well-fed eyes skitter, shoulder muscles clench beside placards
for the 1986 Mayday Parade
Party of Lenin leads us to the Triumph of Communism.
Magazines unread, Fish and Hunt.
Kindergarten trips are postponed
for 30 generations.
"Chernobyl" means wormwood and
is an iridescent palette. This woman passes
rusting nests of tanks, Sikorski bones. My own
daughter was born that week 1986, this alp of news and a slow, implacable
gyre of contractions as we watched Nightmare on Elm St, then Cheers.
A hoar of antiquity in the toss of their manes
Prejevalsky Horses shave grasslands, this new age of life -
roses go the way
of any managed thing.
Peace is imposed on this tiny patch as
confident wolves ignore the scent of dead farmyards.
Wild boar multiply, move in to simple wooden huts that
drink radiation but refuse to desert
their contract of shelter.
The Ferris ("Devil's") Wheel will not turn.
Washing, 20 years untouched, still on the line.
Vovik + Tanya = love (maybe still/
600 miles away and them nervously with new children
waiting for the taint).
Elena reassures us
that bitumen protects,
doses at their lowest in the centre of roads.
No one is surprised by this, enduring haven of we beasts that ate.
Is this the last human ecology?
Roars of our engines, the septic gasp.
Opal eyes peering from tarmacadam coats.
Les Wicks 2007