Science & Technology
Gravel, Mine

The Experts spend hours
telling us, it’s okay,
to dig down to the nether black, like dogs
sniffing for treasure: unconsolidated sediment,
remnants of glacial drift, jagged pieces of history.

They urge us to crack it open,
trust computers to predict
the consequence of ignorance,
unearth floods’ ancient accumulation,
transform verdant hills into tailing heaps.

They tell us it’s okay.
We need foundations,
driveways, ditches, roads. They recommend
we tunnel in, drill down to the aquifer
where troglobitic fish fly
without pigment or eyes,
as if that aperture of light and air
will elucidate the riddle.

Their measures blanket our fears
with dust, their speculation sifts
our land into scarred moonscape.

The salmon travels home from the sea,
digs a redd in the gravel, buries her eggs,
then lies empty and spent. We too
swim up and down this river of wheels believing,
we’re headed home.

Photo Credit:US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Copyright 2008,  Rebecca Clark

Rebecca Clark has had poems published in various journals and recently published a chapbook, Bending Light, (Finishing Line Press). She lives with her husband and daughter in the Skagit Valley and coordinates mental health programs for a living.

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