The Scars of Passage

The railways were the veins and arteries of the smallest towns.

From the sky, you can still see them,

The communities that blossom around those threading lines,

And the scars in the land where other towns once stood

And passed into forest,

Into great thick slides of mud, washed into the river.

Railways are surgical cuts

Through lands that attempt to fight the operation.

They provide passage,

But they also carry infection.

Back in the deep country

Following the lines of metal

It is easy to see the other cargo of the trains

The plants from foreign countries,

The strange insects that sit on the trees,

The eyes of creatures that do not belong

Looking up from the underbrush.

Even when the houses and the people have passed,

The tattoo of our presence is burnt into the soil

A cluster of thistles,

Seeding into the autumn wind.

IMG_0090Carelessness can leave more permanent marks than deliberation

It is interesting to see the intersection of the natural and the built, and the unexpected ways that human presence persists.

For more points of intersection, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.


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