When you expect nothing, any piece of good news comes as a shock. I suppose the shock came today with the news that my poem ‘Winter Months in Chernobyl’ won the White Plum Press 122nd Poetry Competition, New York. Thank you Frank Watson and White Plum Press. There you go. This spring starts with a poem about winter.
Winter Months in Chernobyl
The fridge was a well-polished piece of furniture,
pristine-empty wall among other walls in the winter months.
Each morning, a soldier stopped by with a glass of milk –
the only white flag
to foretell a watery spring which never arrived.
In those days, we all slept in the mother’s womb,
taking turns to look after a small yellow bird,
as round as the sun.
One day, a guard with an empty face replaced the soldier.
The guard was quiet.
He liked to come by and sit with us,
inside the baking-hot void, and often,
he used a red pencil to mark my homework.
All my thoughts had unacceptable spelling errors.
Some time later, in April I think,
a blizzard took the guard away in an ambulance.
Food was on its way, and soap
and plastic dolls, clocks and iodine sweets.
A few of us grew feathers,
a few of us became photographs,
blindfolded legacy trapped in tulip bulbs.