Reactor No. 4 (Ghosts of Chernobyl)

by Kirsty Logan

The road, no road, scratched out
in sand. Stately buildings, stately
trees. A swingless swing-set
stands guard. Boats tilt to rust, tilt to
the clear contaminated lakes. Trees reclaim,
open their soft jaws
around houses. Intact windows open
to an explosion of green trees.

Prometheus stole fire.
This milk, this wheat, this ground.
A thousand x-rays.

Plants brown
in pots, abandoned. A room
of books, a forest floor
of pages. Furniture tilts leftwards,
the building picked up and shaken. A box
spews gas masks, intact. Nursery cots lurch,
huddled in conference or worship
around one tiny mattress.

Prometheus, shackled to a mountain, sacrificed.
There’s no return, yet here we are.
Here we are.

Kirsty Logan writes, edits, teaches, reviews books, and works in a teashop in Glasgow, Scotland. She is the co-editor of Fractured West and the reviews editor for PANK. She is currently working on her first novel, Little Dead Boys, thanks to a grant from the Scottish Book Trust. Her poetry chapbook, You Look Good Enough To Eat Me, is forthcoming from Forest ( in 2011. She has a semicolon tattooed on her toe. Say hello at

Editor’s note: “Reactor No. 4 (Ghosts of Chernobyl)” is reprinted here. It first appeared in Existere (Fall 2009).

Back to Issue Nine: Fall 2010