Poets for Science
Global Gallery

Po/Polonium

Category

Tags

Location

Published

Alexander Litvinenko

thought he had escaped

the clutches of the bear,

but had been convicted

in absentia for treason,

so then black suits

retrieved a deadly phial

from a reactor

in the Urals,

flew to London

with the element,

a single grain

more than

necessary, though

they had to make

three attempts

on his life,

finally succeeding

with a silver teapot.

 

When he got home,

he had a vomiting

spasm and then

the isotope began

its slow progression

into his organs;

his hair fell out

and his tissues

dissolved into

a slurry

and he died

twenty-two days

later.

 

At first,

the doctors

suspected

thallium,

but the ex-KGB

officer solved

his own murder.

 

The careless

assassins

left a toxic trail

all over the city;

on the airplane,

on hotel towels,

a football stadium,

the Underground

and in the sink drain

of the restaurant.

 

The body was so

radioactive

that he had to be

buried in a

lead-lined coffin.

 

Putin dryly proffered:

“Mr. Litvinenko is,

unfortunately,

is not Lazarus.”