Alan Catlin has several new chapbooks and new full length books out recently including Memories Too (Dos Madres), Sunshine Superman (Cyberwit) and The Road to Perdition (Alien Buddha).
Watching the Chernobyl Explosion and Subsequent Fires
like Whistler’s Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Fireworks Falling
They witnessed history that night,
those dead people watching on the
footbridge of imminent death.
All of them watched the disaster
happening, one that was years in
the making: all those corners cut, rules
ignored, unrealistic parameters set,
leading here, to the inevitable, the worst
possible outcome. All those people
unaware, not warned of consequences,
none of them suspecting watching was
a curiosity that kills, that night the
unnatural fires burned the skin off
the night, shooting geysers of light
no one could turn away from even if
they knew it was already too late.
While the adults watched, children
played in radioactive dust, shredded
death notes that fell like wayward out-of-
season snow, each more toxic than the last
one and the next. All of them transfixed
by this fireworks display, the grand finale
of a light show that would define the age,
turn their skin to jelly, their retinas to
melting wax, all of them victims
of an unforgiving power play, one
whose half-life is fifty millennia long.