“The Wolves of Chernobyl”

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,

everyone fails.

They melt into the night,

padding over the snow

as the wind picks up and

the poisonous land

breathes once more.

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