Mountaintop Removal

By David Simcox
Volume 19, Number 1 (Fall 2008)
Issue theme: "Immigration Reform and the Obama Administration"

Boulders flee incising blasts.

Whining diesels gather for surgery.

Mastectomy in shale and granite

Shuffled chaos of rubble and silt,

Dusty sloughing of crust, sedge and saplings

Entomb creek creatures and willows below.

The fragile valley mortally deformed.

Shorn, the knob yields its black viscera

For steel mastodons to grind and gorge.

Unheeding showers wring silted

Sulphuric rivulets from the deflated hill,

The darkening river waits below,

To rush the brew to innocent lips.


I watch with due remorse,

Allayed by my imperious need

To age with the ease that I am owed,

Safe from sting or absence of a fickle sun

Laved in the TV’s gaudy narcosis

Of couplings, wails and mirthful violence,

To cook without fire and cool without ice,

Miraculously message and instantly heed

Myriad faceless fellow mountain eaters,

I am one of countless pyrophagic predators,

Always with apologies to be sure,

To peel the arbored pelt from sinless hills

Shred and heap their timeless pillars

In acidic ossuaries on dying burns.

It is my due to fatten

On the primordial black haunches within,

My due to commodify the eternal hills,

To dine on the flesh of my only earth.