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An earth-shift beneath our feet

A creak of movement shudders the roof

We pause, eyes white and wide;

Then a thickness of silence once more

And the shale dust settles. 

We creep between sandwiched lives,

Scuttle in tunnels meshed into the past,

Echo of lake and mudflat;

Feather of club fern and fish scale. 

We dig the dark to source light.


We chip at the shale, slice and break, 

Scatter and sliver,

Split so the oil seeps out

In blue-black bruises,

To make candle wax and lamp fuel;

Our breath mixes heavy. 



We emerge like crystals into dusk

And the inhale of open woods;

In the distance, guilt wavers 

Like a canary flame. 

Poem copyright Larissa Reid

Artwork copyright Elspeth Knight

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