< meta charset="UTF-8"> Haibun Today: A Haibun & Tanka Prose Journal

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 4, December 2019

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Anna Cates
Wilmington, Ohio, USA

Definition Poem

What is a topped mountain?
It is not a mountain. It is not a valley.
It is not a hill. . . It is an absence of what was.
No topsoil. Wind stirs pestilential particles all around:
arsenic, mercury, chromium, cadmium. . . Five hundred
mountains taken down in explosions of earth and rock, ripping apart
red spruce, poisoning rabbits, butterflies, salamander, deer. An American acme
leveled. Murdered. Erased. A region slowly effaced. A scar on a ruined landscape.

toxic trickle
through the foundation's crack
coal-blooded moon

Note: “Mountain topping” is an ecologically destructive form of mining in which coal is extracted from a mountaintop by removing the land itself, euphemistically termed the “overburden.”