Chernobyl had its time

as a beautiful thing, until

its fragile steel and ceramic tile

broke under the strain of

concussive rebirth.

It had its time when the Soviets

came rushing in

wearing nothing but

rubber boots and cotton sheets.

It collected souls.

It swallowed them whole.

It made its own power

a new machine churning

under the blue Cherenkov light

making new energies from

what it should never have taken.

It had its time as a seductive beast

a Medusa hungering in the night

before Perseus placed his heavy

silver helmet over her curls

and made her a warning sign.