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The night was heavy, but the air was alive.

Mike Oldfield

At night, the Chernobyl cloud fell

across pastures. Thyroids swelled.

The pond glowed with murmuring iodine,

swallows kissing crooked mirrors.

The radio kept playing “Moonlight Shadow”.

In the barn, a girl guide from the city started

a club for virgins. Smoking menthols,

we took lessons in preparing for conjugal

life from copies of Playboy instead.

There would be no other end to the world,

and yet it kept coming, like cramps

and acne, until I discovered

spots of dark blood in my underwear.

Spring, 1986

Marek Kazmierski, translation from
the Polish written by

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