Egypt Valley – Vivian Wagner

Vivian Wagner

Strip-mined and reclaimed,
the land here slopes in ways
similar to the old ways.
The red-winged blackbirds sing songs
not unlike the songs they sang before.
The creeks flow and gather into wetlands
that might once have formed
when water found itself blocked by
sandstone falls and trees
instead of tailings.

A few fringe maples and oaks
have grown up since the apocalypse,
and they’re full of hope.
The Russian olive bushes,
planted by gruff yet forgiving hands,
speak invasive languages remembered
from ancient places,
also gone.

This is what the land does:
it tells and retells stories as best it can,
its dementia swirling
moments into being from
fragments of half-forgotten
leaves and feathers,
winds and snows,
lovely, unnamed tunes from childhood that go
just so.

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