Awake in Chernobyl

Wolf packs pad track on snow
amidst concrete walled emptiness,
buildings solely replete with interior seedlings,
red after, now green in Chernobyl.

Abandoned dolls, playthings,
whose plastic skin has crack-emptied
child love to moldy moss longing,
greet warm blooded mutants.

Wolf fur, charged with radioactivity,
looks subtle, strokeable,
to masked, gloved scientist mammals.
They spit dart sleep to one
they name Boy.

He and Lara, his stereotypic Ruski mate,
breed pups in an old cheese factory pan.
Disturbed from nap time,
eyes closed, the babies squeal
for mam’s warmth.

Unassuming, unprotected humans
can die on the asphalt roads
of these abandoned cities,
run down, overpowered
by their own sought nuclear family.

Glowing reports of animal life
awaken hope, even though
it may prove to be short lived.

—Marilyn Zelke-Windau, Sheboygan Falls, WI