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  • Writer's pictureRachel Levy

Scorched Earth


















Heavy with the weight of our sin

they slouched;

Forced to bear a load

that shouldn’t be theirs to hold,

their black bodies bent towards the road.


A taste of hell -

there is no shade here. 

A taste of hell - 

there is only shame near.


A full body exposure: 

first my nose burns from the smoke;

then my eyes discern a scene to make me choke;

among the silence my ears yearn for some noise,

alas, I can’t make out even a single croak. 





A scape with no trees

lacks branches to catch the breeze. 

A scape with no soil

lacks noise from animals with nothing to toil.


Listen carefully, 

the only noise around

is that of ash hitting the ground.


Bearing the weight of my sin,

the trees hunch. 

They hunch but don’t fall;

How can I learn to hunch but not fall?

At a time like this, how can I dare to think of myself at all?


Scorched earth, torched earth.

A place like this makes me reckon with the human curse. 





I drove on, 

my mind stayed. 

My mind burrowed into the soot of a landscape altered;

A layer of soot for a future geologist.

I never wondered what lay in the layers of rock

until I stood on one on its way underground. 


Each layer is a graveyard - 

each layer is a world that was

and is no longer. 

Nothing more than an open casket  

upon which my eyes barely dare to wander. 


Nothing more than a world 

that is on its way under.



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