Chernobyl Fox by David Brennan

News crew. He struts up with a fearless limp, askew, his coat deranged in delicate splotches, an unfoxlike version of fox, this Emperor of Goof.

Why a limp? Let’s see a limp: a soaking rain of cesium-137. The mushrooms revel in the wet, distill the radiation in their caps. Voles, voracious mushroom consumers, make of their bodies vole-sized radiation pills the foxes love to pop. So His Majesty of Calamity recipes marrow-mush of his own bone.

The crew dispenses sandwich makings. A zone of exclusion invites concentration

Ham atop six fat white slices, gathered and fit along the long row of yellowing molars, no condiments but hey

The King of Leakage doesn’t chew nor wolf his food. He’s no longhair, no shaggy loper.

Camera zooms on his mouth: a loaf.

Horse and badger, ungulate and bird, beaver and moose, none have managed to procure such morsels

Dead power lines sag with vine, decorate. Monarch of Mutation

he turns and trots a return, sporting trophy for the reclamation of his realm.


David Brennan’s include If Beauty Has to Hide (Spuyten Duyvil), a collection of cross-genre work, and Murder Ballads: Exhuming the Body Buried Beneath Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads (Punctum Books), a work of creative literary criticism. Poems and essays have appeared and are forthcoming in BOAAT, Timber, Always Crashing, Heavy Feather Review and elsewhere. He teaches at James Madison University in Virginia.

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