Our Radiation Babies

Those not stillborn are in great agony.
The doctor holds up their forearms to the camera,
oozing yellow sores.
Such would poison give birth to
were it suitably fertilized.
And it was.


You turn off the television,
unable to watch any more.
“Eventually, they die," I say,
“and it’s over.”
You shrug your healthy shoulders.
We don’t make love for days.
Chernobyl is our chaperone now,
won’t turn its back for a moment.


It’s not until a week later
we’re out walking
and spy a healthy baby
being pushed along in a carriage
that the subject turns from
nuclear power plants.
You bend down, as you always do,
checking the new white skin
for toxic blemishes, for lesions, scars.


We’re cuddled on the couch
watching sit-com reruns
when you whisper,
“Maybe I’ll get pregnant now.”
As if all it takes is your say-so
and that all be quiet on the radiation leak front.


But then a late breaking news story
interrupts the loud canned laughter.
A young boy has fallen down a well.
Rescuers are arriving at the scene.
Is his neck broken? Has he drowned?

Is he ours?

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