A cold April. Chicks coming to
in a cage under a giant light bulb.
I served them finely chopped feed:
boiled eggs, milfoil, water in a jar lid.
I admired these beings, fragranced with sand
and mucus, hatched in an alien darkness,
which was just like the all-night cuts in electricity.
I remember the rustling in the dark when the bulb went out,
spots of colour stiffening, flickers.
The night was heavy, but the air was alive
At night, the Chernobyl cloud fell
on our pastures. Thyroids swelled.
The pond aglow with murmuring iodine.
Swallows kissing crooked mirrors.
A city girl scout took over a barn and opened
a virgins’ club. We smoked menthols,
took free lessons from Playboy in
“Preparing for life in a family set-up”.
and yet it kept repeating, like belly aches
and acne, until the time I found
spots of dark blood in my underwear.
The steel gate bearing sulphur etchings,
banners holding up the nation’s future.
The nation stumbles over woodchip tiling,
holds reams of paper, still warm,
which will only reach full maturity in office.
stamp dates on time sheets.
Father smokes at the reception desk,
his hands shaking over the console
as he opens and shuts the gates by remote.