For VV January 2021

It Always Smells Like Rain Here

I remember Mum always read me
bedtime stories. My favourite was
about teddy bears and a picnic.

But this story isn’t about that.

This story is about a boy who’d look
into the sun and see butterfly shapes,
and was fascinated by hell’s breathless
inferno at the nuclear power plant. He
wanted nothing in life, except to step

into the chafe and ash, and unmask 
colours of hell’s heat. One night, when
sleep should’ve kept him in bed, he cut
right through the plant’s chainlink fence.

He found his way to blue fluid pools
and phantom steam, and the furnace
where arterial colours entangled his feet.
The air whipped him with longing, and

he let out such a terrible shriek whilst
his shadow walked on and over, and all
around him into the endless middle
of his hollowed out places.

Everything about him was thinking –
Is this a place I’m just passing through?
Will my memories die like a tree?
Is this a memory, or is it a dream?

The day the power station crumbled,
in and on itself, was an overcast day
of unusual warmth. And I looked
out the window, and saw that boy’s

shadow etched in the air – lingering
crushed colours tangled in chainlink,
seeping into all those self-soothing
hollow places that he used to fill.

That night I remember asking Mum
to read me that bedtime story about
teddy bears and a picnic in the woods.

Written for Visual Verse’s January Image,
and the #apoemaday challenge on Twitter 
poem © Misky 2020

9 responses to “For VV January 2021”

  1. What a gripping and disturbing tale!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jael Stevens avatar
    Jael Stevens

    Oh Wow–powerful, visceral!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much.


      1. Most welcome.


  3. Congratulations, good to see this in Visual Verse! It’s so disturbing, I keep coming back to it. Reminds me of a children’s drama I once watched called ‘Doom Beach.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I was a child during the Cold War, Khrushchev beating his shoe on the table, air raid signals at noon on Wednesdays, etc. Such things make an impression on a child. It sticks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I suppose with me Chernobyl had the same effect. I lived close to a nuclear power station and I was absolutely terrified.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Did you read a book called “On the Beach” by Nevil Shute? I read it in high school. Scared me to death.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I didn’t. Now I’m not sure if I should!


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