Deep in the zone around Chernobyl,
the animals have all returned.
Industrious beavers busy building
dams and blocking canals to
flood ancient wetlands again,
while shy deer and moose
look to make the most of
the absence of humanity.
Through deserted towns with
desolated streets and houses
the grey wolf wanders once more,
howling mournfully at the moon
and pawing the radioactive soil.
Nature’s adaptability is astounding,
but the rapid re-growth of green
over anything man-made
at Chernobyl is chilling,
proving that mere human presence is
more destructive than a melt down
as catastrophic as forty Hiroshima’s.
We are forgotten by the forests
less than fifty years after we left,
trailing an invisible poison that
infected earth, air and water,
but one still unable to stop
the wandering grey wolf.
He howls his melancholy song
about the brief reign of apes
who killed themselves with a
chain reaction, started long ago.
The wolves of Chernobyl know,
better than most of us, that
on a long enough timeline,
They melt into the night,
padding over the snow
as the wind picks up and
the poisonous land
breathes once more.