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Poem: The Cliffs at Cushman

Yellow machines chip away
At the grey limestone ridge
To widen a black river of asphalt
That flows like some primordial seep
Towards the endless Montana horizon.
This is the road that falls off the edge of the Earth.

Cottonwoods lie on their side,
Their green leaves flickering in the summer breeze,
Roots trembling in the harsh sunlight
Like so many blind eels plucked from their
Cool dark place,
Undone by this fearful storm.

Where do we run so fast that there is no place for these trees?
The yellow dozer coughs black smoke,
Rages against grey boulders and crashing limbs.
Where do we run so fast and
What is that shadow so close behind?

Tom Elliott
Grass Range, Montana

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Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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