The Long Nights of Siberia


I watch the man who sits
on a rock on the shore of Lake Washington.
He knows he may not catch anything
with the shadow of his long pole
zig-zag in the reflecting water.

How little it matters!
If he were to stand one hour
on the shores of that nine-mile lake
in Siberia, he would be dead.
A nuclear waste dump site,
it had seemed a good place.

I watch the man who flicks
his cigarette in a high arc
over the lake. A thread of smoke
rises from the clear water.
I wonder if he can imagine
radioactive whales at play
just off the river’s mouth
on the north coast of distant Siberia.
They may pass this way before long.

E.G. Burrows