Take the bus past the warning signs
Through the radioactive pines
Past rows and rows of black bungalows
Not far to go to where fungi grow
By the sarcophagus of Chernobyl
The pickers trudge through the cesium sludge
Will someone buy our mushrooms?
To the accordion’s wheeze, through the twisted trees
With their buckets and their trowels
The mushroom pickers plod on the poisoned sod
Ignoring their ulcerous bowels
They’re no trick to pick. They’ll all make you sick
So who will buy our mushrooms?
Come on down to the half-life town.
It’s not far from Chernobyl
And beat the drum as the children come
With their hairless heads and tumors
Out of abandoned hovels, bringing their pails and shovels
And here’s how they pass their summers
They dig in the septic squish for glowing three-eyed fish
Just next door to Reactor Four
In the long shadow cast by Chernobyl
©Barbara Fryrear 2011