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UKRITYE (poem) - Mario Petrucci - United Kingdom - Poetry International
 
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Ukritye
(Chernobyl, 1986)
Even the robots refuse. Down tools. Jerk up
their blocked heads, shiver in invisible hail. Helicopters

spin feet from disaster, caught in that upwards cone
of technicide – then ditch elsewhere, spill black running guts.

Not the Firemen. In rubber gloves and leather boots
they walk upright, silent as brides. Uppers begin

to melt. Soles grow too hot for blood. Still they shovel
the graphite that is erasing marrow, spine, balls –

that kick-starts their DNA to black and purple liquid life.
Then the Soldiers. Nervous as children. They re-make it –

erect slabs with the wide stare of the innocent, crosshatch
the wreck roughly with steel, fill it in with that grey

crayon of State Concrete. In soiled beds, in the dreams
of their mothers, they liquefy. Yet Spring still chooses

this forest, where no deer graze and roots strike upwards.
Fissures open in the cement – rain finds them. They grow:

puff spores of poison. Concrete and lead can only take
so much. What remains must be done by flesh.