precious metals


Mike Berger

Deep Scars

The barren land stretch for miles-

stark and naked. Stumps rotting,

jutted up in a bizarre mosaic. Strewn

about were the decaying remnants

of age-old trees; their severed branched

now a fester in rotting blanket covering

the ground. Those once arching branches

shaded frolicking squirrels and melodic

song birds.

One stump, nearly three feet wide,

had more than a hundred rings.

The lifeblood of that gargantuan

tree dotted the stump congealing

into crusty pitch. The resinous

smell brought images that stately


Vicious chain saws inflicted mortal

wounds. Thunderous bulldozers

left ugly scars where they dragged

the carcasses away. 


The old pelican laid down and died.

Its body quivered in anguish. It succumbed

to a polluted pond it once called home.

Raw sewage  pours in, leaving a putrid bog.

Who knows what's in that sludge a

six inch pipe discharges? Flotsam

rises to the top; the stench turns your stomach.

Fish once swam in crystal waters, now they

are carrion rotting on the shore. Animals

once drank deep, now they know better. A

stand of proud cattails are reduced to brown sticks.

A gnarled old old box elder tree stood for fifty

years providing shade for picnics and a

rope swing for daring boys. It now stands

stark and bare, arms piercing the sky.

Its twisted bark sloughs off into stinking piles.

The old tree died by inches as the pond filled

with sludge.   

Beaver Dam

Did a peevish God throw it

down in a fit of anger? The

twisted amorphous mass reeks

chaos. The tangle is a hundred

gnarled fingers.

A subtle pattern appears only

on deep inspection. Haphazard

logs and sticks blend into a

bizarre design. Water tumbles

around the dam's edges. The

shiny ends of logs bear

telltale chisel marks.

In the middle of the pond a

dark mound rises, hiding

beavers from my prying eyes.

Once there were thousands of

beaver dams; this is the only

one I could find.

Hunted into near extinction,

those silken pelts make fur

jackets for elegant ladies.

They look chic in their

sleek evening wraps.

Clueless about the real cost.

PUBLISHING HISTORY: Author of two books of short stories. Three humor pieces have won
awards. Writing poetry for two years. Work has or will appear in sixty-five journals. These
include AIM, Still Crazy, First Edition, Stray Branch, and Mid West Quarterly, Evergreen and
Westward Quarterly, Stray Branch.. His work has appeared internationally in Australia. Portugal,
Mozambique, England, Canada, and India. Published three chapbook, Raw and Lighten Up
published by CC&D Press, Smart Assed World by Writing Raw .A fourth chap is due out.. Winner
of several poetry contests.

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