Colonising the Delta

Way downriver, at the ocean mouth
A waterway full of silt, on the suck
Its embankments bare sleeves, rolled up and burning

This tide is mostly snow melt, from the far, unexplored interior
Unlocked from lonely mountains it’s travelled hours
Though swift it’s never reached boiling point

It’ll be a lifetime before that water finds itself frozen again
See the rabbits scurrying along the forest floor, lit by torchlight
Covered with bracken, wet moss, and mushroom domes
The sky-scraping canopy impenetrable, the air cracking fresh

Beyond, the distance blurring
Above a harbour that’s more hull than whitecap and littered with settling ships

So much smoke, sail and steam, and so little wind

The rabbit may out run industry’s hearth, but not the loggers’
First the foundations will go, then the roof
The rain running the topsoil away
Sediment in the miasmic river, then fed out to sea

Now it’s the near distance that’s aflame, earth flecked with the spittle of sickness
And still the rabbit digs its burrow deeper
Never imagining any worse because it’s never known it so bad before


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