In the National Geographic picture
the fat bikini women
stand smiling on the small
beach of the Ob River,
which is not in the picture and
which they can’t swim in anyway,
because, the caption says, this is the most
polluted river in Asia.
Besieged by potato soup,
coal refineries, snow,
they blink into startling sunlight,
display their proud pale flesh
to the opening air
while the background buzzes
with sudden greenery, tundra flies.
Anorexia is not prevalent here.
Their hair is crinkly,
strong, not too clean.
They smile, smile
to the camera,
knowing these long days,
like all respites,
Featured Poem: Siberian Sunbathers, by Carol Gloor