Black rain falling
dust and ash
setting off down these village roads
because there is no word for this colour,
old newspapers from the day before
26 April 1986, Chernobyl nuclear disaster
ninety kilometres northeast of Kiev,
as it spreads morning, there is no word for
this every day and every morning and evening,
now contained inside a birch forest
keening the loss, wondering if
coming here. I was lost.
I couldn’t have been more lost
reinforcing the narratives told to me:
the ghost town of Pripyat
drifting from room to empty room trying
to find what it is that I was after
marshes, peat bogs
at the insistence of loam and clay
radioactive cesium and strontium
a clock stopped at 1:23 am
loose words falling into a void,
to this day I have no
notes and the space between the notes
going back into the exclusion zone.
Visiting babusya’s grave
its music, incantation in half-light.
Urgent and elegiac
foraging wild blueberries.