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Wormwood | Zero Readers

“The city’s name is the same as one of the Ukrainian names
for Artemisia vulgaris, mugwort or common wormwood.”
Etymology of ‘Chernobyl’, O. S. Melnychuk

“… and the name of the star is called Wormwood.”
Revelations 8:10-11

And the angel’s palm opens, tilts,
and from it an absinthe star falls
to the woods,
to the rivers, which stand still in waiting,
illuminating the lace of butterfly wings,
weaving through the ranks of birches.
In the hush that follows, each dewdrop
shivering in the field turns to bitter water,
every blade of grass darkens to rust.

And still the seething star
plummets, melting away all shadows
in hottest shades of blue, and hides
itself in the root cellar of the world:
amid blood-black beetroots, clotted mold
and turnips swelling like tumors,
there it rots forgotten,
and if it still wails its siren song, it is as good
as silent when there is no one left to listen.

The woods have grown. The waters run.
Aboveground, banks of wormwood wave
behind dusty windows, swallowing the town.
The angel lingers, its face unweeping,
its absent eyes bleached blind by the sun.





Ieva is a poet and scientist. Her first publication was at the age of nine, in the form of a short fairy tale. More recently, her poetry has been published in Ink Drinkers Magazine and in the Renard Press New Beginnings anthology. In 2021 she founded the Orangery Literary Society, an online community for up-and-coming writers. She currently lives on a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic.