I recently joined a creative writing group. It’s mostly neighborhood friends, or friends of friends. There are a few options each week, and this week I wrote a poem, instead of my standard narrative style. The prompt is also the first line of the poem.
Run, Stay Away by Jessica R
The city burned, fire lighting up the night sky,
at hours so early, no one knew who would die.
The sickeningly sweet, caustic fumes flowed
on the wind, in the halls, through the trees that now bowed.
The start to the day, was plain – almost dismal.
School children with bated breath, waiting for dismissal.
Life moved on, little did they know,
They’d soon have to face the deadly snow.
When the order came to abandon the town,
it was sudden, unexpected, eliciting a frown.
Little ones dawdled, small bag in a pudgy hand.
Adults thought “three days”, and
with that promise they left their belongings
without knowing they’d never return for their things.
“Please keep calm and orderly” the buzzing voice instructed,
but mayhem would follow, peace had been abducted.
Despite promises of a safe return home
Their “normal” disappeared as quickly as sea foam.
They would never return to their sweet piece of earth,
the accident made sure of that, the land would need a rebirth.
The poison still lingers, even to this day.
The signs outside Chernobyl: Run, Stay Away.
// The explosion at Chernobyl occurred 28 years ago this month. The area is still too toxic to inhabit, and the effects of the explosion are still affecting people today in the various forms of cancer and disease caused by radiation poisoning.//
I used to think about going there, and exploring. It’s weird how much my head space has changed. I used to think that risking a little exposure would be worth seeing such an interesting place. Now I shudder thinking about the minute amounts of exposure I’ve already received. Weird how quickly things change.