Leya Tess

Energy Series: Surface Mining

You lift skin.
Peel back watered hollows.
Tear up birds’ brush wet land.
Suck and scrape.

My boreal, my bog, my peat, my muskeg.

You call it overburden.

Spit and chew my fine skin.

But I am compressor of sediment, viser of seabed, mistress of fossil.

I ooze slow
sink under
slip sticky black between sand.

You alchemy
bitumen into oil barrel.
Shoot hot water
cut siphon slush
slurry my broken matter.
Trap me
in tanks and tailing ponds.
Split me apart. Spit me
into silver Athabasca.

Bring your big diggers.
Your mappers, your prodders.
Your seven-storey shovellers
your hundred-ton trucks
your conveyer belts and drums
your pipes and your lines.

Bring your coffee break to my eon,
your night shift to my star gaze.
I boom beyond shifting gears and lit engines.
I am the night ring in eardrum,
my voice still beating.

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Laurel Albina is a Canadian-born Palestinian-American writer and labour organizer. Her writing is influenced by her parents’ emigrations to Canada as a result of conflict and war. She lives in East Vancouver, B.C. with her partner and children.

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