Friday, October 7, 2011

The Tar Sands

They were not attracted
by the handsome landscape.
Northern Alberta’s frozen flats
were mundane, forgettable.
Their interest was not in making
homes, raising families, or cultivation;
but the minerals locked-up
in the soil—fuel for an addiction
second nature; a way of life

Scientists were sent in, soil examined.
The companies developed intimate knowledge
of deep places. Ways of exploitation were invented.
Extraction began.

They shot super-heated water down into the earth,
until the resources could be pumped out. The wealth flowed
into cities miles away: cars were bought, sky-scrapers built,
and executives took vacations in warm places,
where they forgot Alberta even existed, they imagined
summer homes: hammocks and lazy days
entertaining grandchildren on pristine beaches.

When the land started to bleed toxic,
poisoning the families and homes
of the people who lived there,
change was not an option.
Disease was an acceptable consequence,
so long as it was distanced from them,
existing in depressed, dreary remoteness.
The wealthy do not change to accommodate the poor.

Extraction expanded;
companies began making eyes at Saskatchewan.

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