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The Mice of Chernobyl


The sap runs sweet in the willows

and catkins festoon every bough.

On fallowed farmland the swallows

that once followed hayrake or plow

swoop through the blossoming hollows

or dive-bomb a wandering sow.


As plovers nest in the stubble

and clutches of speckled eggs hatch,

the field mice pair at Chernobyl

to bear in their cradles of thatch

offspring no isotopes trouble,

no lingering gamma rays catch.


Why should a man-made disaster

prove too great a challenge for mice?

Their fierce little hearts beat faster

as broken chomosomes splice.

Better a poisonous pasture

than deserts of Pleistocene ice.


White squatters in coveralls squabble,

debating whose backside to scratch,

the mutant mice of Chernobyl,

too wily for foxes to snatch,

swarm through the dogwoods and gobble

some Communist's raspberry patch.


Alan Sullivan



Alan Sullivan.  First printed in Janus.

Reprinted by permission of the author.

Background by
Spotted Dog Designs

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