October 28, 2006

The crusher, by Ken Belford

I will think of your road when the open pit is flooded
and the immediate receiving water is authorized,
and habitat destruction and the flow losses begin
in the final version of the plan. I can say it now,
I can say goodbye Amazay, the crush disposed
under your natural body of living water. And
I don’t have much to add except to say always
these proposed strategies to compensate for
whole lake destruction are lies. I would love to
go back to T’am Uumxsit one day because I was
ageless in Sakxwhi Tax and here you are
needle face, in the crushing café circles of
Seattle, where the wheel of fate is red.

There is a net loss when options fail, when
transplants like me, in the combination
of boulders and woody debris, can’t adhere
to the drainages like a Dolly in another
watershed or lake or upstream passage, here
in the upper Ingenika, when the like for like
transplant men remove the barriers and
mix sacrificial samplings into streams.

They are creek robbers,
and in the spring
they will be lifting gravels and lifting fishes
where slides run out across the channel.
The mainstem reaches
and dewatered Chuckachida
slides in the cascade
along the valley bottom
to an isolated lake downstream.
Still, the bedrock falls
and the function of the passages
angled from the confluence
might destabilize the structure,
so I count rays along the shoreline
while the channel is hammered out.

Form controls and Amazay is powerless
against these men who cannot keep their hands off.
Every second year during the stable summer flows,
they will lace their boots and return
to dominate the waters. Amazay was nature’s body.
This dead body of water was never an idea
and the acts done to the reproductive systems
have everything to do with fragmented bodies,
spawning beds and making money off women.

I can’t imagine compensation lakes.
The littoral truth of the shore zone keeps
Amazay’s structures and cascades in place.
Sediments extend across the bed, across
the gravel, the sand, the silt and clay.
Beneath, the ground water flows
across the inflow and outflow barriers
they plan to blow. But the passage
structure inhibits the over-story
and they say the barriers will be removed
and the classes within the system
will fin their way to the two-way,
to the small lakes at the end.
If transplanted fish squirt over the divide,
and cross over in the headwaters reach
and the flow path length is extended
to the glacial headwater lake,
then poison will seep over the area
and the pure water above the barriers
will be within the system no more.

Photo of Crow

A gurgle ruffled from a morning
fog hunkered over the park, black
spruce float the sound higher
a sharp click and chuckle.

Lack of definition circles
the tallest evergreen, barks a tattoo
against the white air.

Myth a luminous absence—
the corrosive text, its toxic
sentence flowing out.

Poised here, an intersection of opportunity,
garbage, vantage, and disinterest, the possibility
of flight caught in a thick cracked beak and
a penultimate purple.

Poetry is dead, a photo
not taken, a scavenged plot
adapting itself to the wastelands.