Open & Cut
Taken from space, photos of earth
open-cut for coal
are like the ultra-sound stills
of a cross-section of face
where melanomas had metastasised
of parts of the cheekbone and jaw.
Sustained inhalation of coal dust
is the mineral equivalent of breathing in
tubercular saliva, and where
the water table is black, the black-
throated finch will go out like a spark
struck from the gold nib of a pen
that signs a deal changing Native Title.
The word scrub as clear-fell.
Aquifer as under-the-table profiteer.
A dugong will surface trailing sea grass
like magnetic tape in a port
where piers were hammered home
to support the loading of containers.
And as for the Great Barrier Reef
whatever the run-off from fertiliser leaves
untouched will be imperilled
by the passage of ships
with a history of oil and coal spills.
A drone sends back HD footage of a pod
of humpback whales off Abbot Point.
An executive nods
and stamps the scene with approval
his hand waving like the flipper
of an overturned Flatback turtle.
Photos in collage from: CSIRO CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) via Wikimedia Commons