Jonathan Glenn Travelstead


A bull moose feeds between two buildings
that housed the thirty-thousand workers and their families
who worked at the Chernobyl Nuclear
Power Station, or in nearby Pripyat.

From the doorway entrance at the ground level
we see him. But we don't worry. If he charges his girth
and rack won't allow him entrance.
The moose raises his head then, and, considering us benign,

only returns to the fallen willow twigs.
Oksana says even the wolves, the black bear have returned
to the nuclear city. One day she came alone,
red hair blazing to one of the tenement's

ransacked upper floors for quiet in which to journal.
Reclined on a sill, she looked up on occasion,
watching wild things prowl,
wandering where trees broaden

over once-manicured lawns. She says
it's not curiosity or pride, but nearness which makes us
forget what is dangerous. There, she points.
A window on the third floor where she heard

a scrabble, then wheeled on a white wolf's breath-
rolling thunder which filled the doorway
close enough she smelled his penny rot
and no longer dreamed of naming him.

The moose again raises his head.
Bored, watching us watch him, he chuffs once
and lopes away.

Jonathan Glenn Travelstead

JONATHAN TRAVELSTEAD served in the Air Force National Guard for six years as a firefighter and currently works as a full-time firefighter for the city of Murphysboro. Having finished his MFA at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, he now works on an old dirt-bike he hopes will one day get him to the salt flats of Bolivia. He has published work in The Iowa Review and on among others, and his first collection ,How We Bury Our Dead, by Cobalt/Thumbnail Press is forthcoming in February, 2015.

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