Howie Good

My Private Chernobyl

It’s the village where the kill switch was flicked and a malfunction occurred, where disaster originated, where a Socialist-realist mural of cunnilingus is brightly lit at night, where characters from cartoons and fairy tales (a farmer, a firefighter, a Soviet cosmonaut) have been abandoned. Everything else has been declared safe for visitors and included on the official tour.


It crawls through trees, a smell like the rancid diapers of the spawn of Satan. But how is that my fault? Autumn looms, fine black cracks etched all over. Courtship systems have collapsed, seemingly overnight. Who knows whose hands or breath harbors the virus? Please, oh please, preserve me from people who eat the same lunch every day. My wife and I were sitting at the bakery having a roll and coffee. From just the way she was looking across the table at me, I could guess what she was thinking. She was thinking, “Everything is alive, albeit quiveringly so.”

Howie Good is the author of THE DEATH ROW SHUFFLE, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.