17 March 2016
I can still see the bright-crimson glow.
This wasn’t any ordinary fire,
It was some sort of shining.
I’d never seen anything like it in the movies.
That evening everyone spilled out
onto their balconies
and those who didn’t have them
went to friends’ houses.
We were on the ninth floor,
we had a great view.
People brought their kids out,
picked them up, said, “Look! Remember!”
They stood in the black dust,
talking, breathing, wondering at it.
People came from all around in their cars
and their bikes to have a look.
We didn’t know that death could be so beautiful.
From Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Keith Gess (Dalkey Archive Press, 2005), p. 155. Submitted by Howie Good.