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Friday, April 14, 2017


by Peggy Turnbull

Mountaintop Removal Site in Pickering Knob, West Virginia. Image source:

Coal sparkles
where the miner’s lamp hits  
plants wait in darkness
millions of years
transform into sequined shards
become electric

no more easy pillage
no more bolts of velvet
crammed into caverns

thin black ribbons
weave beneath
Appalachian forests
too small to mine underground
too precious to ignore

where clouds hang
between branches
where the mystery
of day unfolds
say good bye
to the tree frog’s song
clear cut these trunks
explode the earth’s crust
let machines like carnivorous insects
rip off the mountain’s head
eat its slender bituminous bed
toss leftovers
into rushing creeks

a higher intelligence
wills it
for jobs
for corporate wealth
become flatland
exists no more

Peggy Turnbull has been recently published in Eunoia Review, Rat's Ass Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and is forthcoming in Muddy River Poetry Review. She made her home in West Virginia for 26 years, but now lives in Wisconsin, where she is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.