The Mushroom Pickers


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