Chernobyl

Samantha Harrison

I knew it was still not safe
to enter when I caught myself
grabbing the flowers by their throats.

                                                                                                   I dig my nails deep
                                                                                          into the dirt’s flesh and see
                                                                                                   it’s all still contrived.

                                                                                                                                                                                     I pull up a baby. It twists
                                                                                                                                                                           and tries to spiral up around
                                                                                                                                                                     my cervix like English ivy. I am

my boiler room breakdown:
I am a liar—I knew the ground
was still damned with man’s poison.

                                                                                       Who knew it would take all
                                                                                             these centuries to learn
                                                                                       to breathe again? Learn to be

                                                                                                                                                                                 a voice in an empty nursery.
                                                                                                                                                               Be the marrow of an animal’s bone.
                                                                                                                                                                     I am trembling. I am anticipating

God’s shovel breaking the earth.
waiting for the spade
to turn up the shriveled genes.

                                                                                          Quiet now. We all tread
                                                                                       lightly on the damned soil.
                                                                                                Like we don’t know

                                                                                                                                                                                    what is beneath. How long
                                                                                                                                                                                    will it be unsafe to be here?
                                                                                                                                                                                                The soil cannot know.

Samantha (Sam) Harrison (she/her) lives in Indiana and is an English major studying at Franklin College. Her poetry has appeared in The Merrimack Review, Tiny Flames Press, Turnpike Magazine and Nymphs. In her free time, she draws cartoons and posts occasional thoughts on her twitter (@totallysamh). 

%d bloggers like this: