They came to build their dams,
irrigate the land,
make the soil rich and habitable.
But now the earth, infused with life,
was perfect breeding ground for poppies –
the people fed and loved them.
Seed pods slit by tiny knives
release a sap that’s left to dry
and overnight, coagulates.
Stained brown, scraped and boiled,
then cured over hot flames,
it’s sent back west,
where it infects
the offspring of the men
who came to build their dams.
I can see them then, like King Canute,
trying to hold back the tide,
armed with flowers of peace.
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This post was written by David Van-Cauter