Sarcophagus (1986)

1 December 2014

The spring Vancouver sang “Something’s Happening
Here,” something happened over there.

It’s still happening.

The prince and princess opened
65 pavilions, a highway
of stalled vehicles, an alabaster statue
behind glass. The city had arrived.



. . .


Gorbachenko suffered a radiation burn on his back where Sashenok’s hand was
located when he helped carry him out.

Vomiting and losing
consciousness. Pins and needles,
a taste of metal.


. . .


41 international + 7 provincial + 2 territorial + 3 state + 9 corporate + 2 theme + 1
special (treasures from the life of a pharaoh).


. . .


Just before it happened and before
it opened, Gram died
and there were sandwiches.
A new haircut she wouldn’t see.


. . .


Scavengers strip all metals.
Visitors ditch protective garments
at set intervals.
More horses than ever.

On Google Earth, a place of rivers.


. . .


She’d have remembered when they found
another pharaoh’s tomb. (The curse
of the mosquito, wonderful things.)

Though she didn’t know she’d be gone
before Expo opened, she hadn’t planned to go.
Too many steps to get there
though just three kilometres
if one could fly.


. . .


The man with the hand on his back.
The glass roof, fallen in instalments.
Her kitchen print of Jesus.
The shut-up air that held the meddled relics.
The land plaza, the air plaza.
Near her ear, that purple spot.
Kaput.


. . .


But: the geodesic dome.
A child’s hair in a drain.
The book beside the bed.
Some benches, now perched near beaches.
A classroom floor through which a tree.
What the looters left.
The bookmark in the book beside the bed.
Cards for future birthdays.


. . .


The place on East 4th lives there still,
made new. (Almost but not quite a street
you can go down onscreen. The time
of the cherry blossoms.) Of the cybercafé
on the corner, she would recognize the brick.


. . .


Her death, the last turn
of the turnstiles, not disasters.

In Kiev, they held the May parade
but no children of the government
went out that day.

Five years later, the princess
visited Chernobyl’s children, listened,
stroked their cancers. Click here to see her
lean her head into her hands. Even thinner
than at Expo. Listen
to the shutters.


. . .


Twenties set aside inside
a granddaughter card in one of many drawers,
enough for an ankh, Egyptian symbol
of eternal life. Sixteen, trying on irony
or was it hope.


. . .


As for the #4 reactor . . . , we estimate it will be 20,000 years before the real estate
will be fully safe.

Real estate?
Only the old were allowed back.


. . .


Her house brought in thousands less than Asking.
The adjoining lot, with dandelions,
next to nothing.

It all started after Expo
they say. Then the skyline
filled with cranes.


. . .


Her last steps up the steps.
Back from dinner for her 87th

No, she was not in bed,
she had gotten up,
the bathroom was a small room, hardly
large enough to fall,
though she must have.

The heart of course.


. . .


What happened over there clicks up through the trunks, the blades of grass.
Swallows with cataracts nest in the sarcophagus.


. . .


Where it happened, a whole
new city. They had to clean
the soil first, before they built
the glass towers.


. . .


Someone on Facebook has her name.


. . .


The lone and level sands.








Italicized material from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster

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