Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Michael Waters: Chernobyl Necklace


Among “countries that are counterfeits of Death,”

Baudelaire in 1846 could not foresee Belarus

Where throats festooned with red crescent scars

Grin across schoolrooms and orphanage wards.


Even an aesthete like Gerard de Nerval

Who leashed his lobster for a stroll to the opera

Could not divine this couture of the doomed—

Post-op jewelry where butterfly-shaped


Thyroids blackened, then bloomed.

Copyright 2015 Michael Waters. First published in Cardinal Points.

One comment on “Michael Waters: Chernobyl Necklace

  1. Carole Brooks Platt
    October 8, 2015

    I had to do a bit of research to understand it fully, (despite a PhD in French literature); but, once done, I recognized the genius of the poem. The currents flowed together, beautiful, yet damned, like Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal. My heart cries for the children of Belarus.


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This entry was posted on October 8, 2015 by in Environmentalism, Poetry and tagged , , .

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