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American Life in Poetry: Chernobyl year?

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By Ted Kooser

When I was a little boy, the fear of polio hung over my summers, keeping me away from the swimming pool. Atomic energy was then in its infancy. It had defeated Japan and seemed to be America's friend. Jehanne Dubrow, who lives and teaches in Maryland, is much younger than I, and she grew up under the fearsome cloud of what atomic energy was to become.

Chernobyl Year?

We dreamed of glowing children,

their throats alive and cancerous,

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