Princess Vlei/2 by Elizabeth Trew
a purl of water
a pall of sky
smoke above a ring of fire
still in the water
Now she stirs in a wrangle of men.
One weeps in the shade of an olive tree:
“The princess I know is not looking her best
but she is our blood and nourishment.
Our people will wash her wounds
seed floral gems
restore her voice, our legacy
in her natural state.”
Another promises this and more:
“I’ll clear her mouth of weeds and glass
uplift the swamp, her sorry state
bring prosperity to all.
I propose a shopping mall along one shore,
parking bays to open her gates
and admire the view.”
Her body trembles with lily and bulrush,
the black velvet worm and dragonfly.
She draws pungent breath
from childhood streams
and women’s voices,
bound by her needful vlei
and each threatened thing.
How long before
I am taken again?