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Lonely Planet

by David Hellman

No road map, no road,
my path disappeared in the understory.
Behind green curtains a cloud forest world.

Kids gathered kindling at nightfall.
Elders roasted sticky rice in bamboo,
chewed pickled tea leaves, tended fires.

Hard hats from the Department
of Accelerated Rural Development
surveyed, blasted, steamrolled

mountain, forest, village.
The road up the mountain
brought down the mountain

crate and barrel.
Dump truck after dump truck
delivered the sky to its knees.

Crows on the horizon
swooped down and speared grubs.
Water buffalo drowned in pools of dust.


David Hellman has had poems published in FIELD, Grand Street, Prairie Schooner, Salamander, and elsewhere. He won a 2010 New York Emmy Award for writing, for his work on the drama series “We Are New York,” on NYCTV. (9/2010)

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