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St. Helens
by Janet Leister

You were always there
in winter swathed in white,
in summer, brown, rocky, inviting
I wanted to be lost in your caves
but now, twelve hundred feet gone
too late

just like the Feather River
where Dad took my brother and sister
inner tubing through the rapids
an act of initiation, a rite of passage
now submerged under
three hundred feet of water
gone forever

I loved your lakes, your purity
your blue crystalline serenity
dappled by the afternoon sun

and then one day, you exploded
in seconds, forests turned into matchsticks
you wrought a torrent
of mud, desecration, death
burying the world in gray
the myth of your virginity
gone forever


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