Sunday, February 01, 2009



When an illegal radioactive waste dump caused the death of a Colombian child who'd been playing there, villagers refused to bury her in their cemetery, and her body was classified as hazardous waste.

King Midas sits admiring his wealth
of burnished apples. It will be a long time
before hunger interrupts him,

a long time before he misses
the squeals of his childish daughter
who finds the dust

so lovely, so luminous, she streaks
both her arms with it. She paints her eyelids
and makes two bright antennae of her braids.

She can't wait for the dark.
How she will flit for him, lanky, radiant moth.
She doesn't wash for dinner.

And he hasn't noticed, not yet.
It will be a long time
before he comes around.

He will have to bury her in lead,
his fondest hope, this isotopic waste
over which the kingdom must rise

against him. Though he will swear
he only wanted the best
for them, for her, his golden girl,

who can barely contain herself just now--
look how she glows
anticipating his delight.

:: Jody Gladding, Stone Crop

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