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"Necromancer in Anthropocene" by Terry Trowbridge

Tired of technocracy clear-cutting the valleys,

a mountainside necromancer brings home

the teeth from several steam shovel buckets,

throws her welding goggles onto her couch

beside railroad spikes, engine parts,

blood encrusted car parts pulled from lost wrecks,

and begins a spell.

Lighting strikes the surrounding peaks

as the necromancer dances amidst a rockslide,

asking the range of tors and aretes

to expose Mesozoic fossils

in an alliance between dying earth and entrapped death.

The necromancer’s smithy glows magma red.

Visitors (locals) begin to visit and leave.

A forgotten hiker with a crushed leg

watches the blacksmithing from the doorway

her mouth parched – too dry to speak.

A cross-country skier leans on a tree

no living creature able to look at the location

of his septuagenarian infarcted heart.

A child, one of hundreds, from a lost school

looks into the barrel of salmon blood

the necromancer uses to quench hot metal

but still cannot see his own reflection

so, he wanders away again

(he pauses only to take the exsanguinated salmon to his classmates).

The necromancer consecrates the fossils

with her own blood mixed with the sap of each tree species

that grows in the valley.

The necromancer makes sprockets that ride the teeth of five carnosaurs –

three sets of car door wings spikelated with ribs of T Rex –

red brake lights, orange blinkers, splay beams radiant and burning

from a center mass of crunched engines and sauropod shins –

so many moving parts moved by bones meant to be eternally rock-still.

Under the next new moon, a logging camp shrieks with chainsaw and protest,

those who flee discover that roadblocks have returned.

Terry Trowbridge’s poems have appeared in The New Quarterly, Carousel, subTerrain, paperplates, The Dalhousie Review, untethered, Quail Bell, The Nashwaak Review, Orbis, Snakeskin Poetry, Literary Yard, M58, CV2, Brittle Star, Bombfire, American Mathematical Monthly, The Academy of Heart and Mind, Canadian Woman Studies, The Mathematical Intelligencer, The Canadian Journal of Family and Youth, The Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, The Beatnik Cowboy, Borderless, Literary Veganism, and more. His lit crit has appeared in Ariel, British Columbia Review, Hamilton Arts & Letters, Episteme, Studies in Social Justice, Rampike, and The /t3mz/ Review. Terry is grateful to the Ontario Arts Council for his first writing grant, and their support of so many other writers during the polycrisis.

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