In the Douglas Valley

New moon on a clear night 
in November does not bleach 
glass to silver, but settles darkness 
here, where the two-train railway 
that runs through the valley 
bisects the sealed 
road that collapsed its steel vein. 
In a fuller moonlight 
neat silver might belly the clouds, 
gild slips where wet 
surfaces mirror the sky, maybe. 
The creeks, cleared 
here to drain the swamps, could 
enmesh the ground in thin light 
while the trees anchor themselves 
each to their own impermeable 
thicket of shadow. 
In the full moon’s hard light, 
rails and water would shine, 
rain be a glistening afterthought — but 
under cover of new moon, 
pulling up, the tracks 
twist themselves out of the ground 
into such shapes 
of metallic logic as 
no human mind could bear. 

Listen to SK Johnson read ‘In the Douglas Valley


SK Johnson is working on an MA in English at Victoria University in Wellington, after completing an MA in Creative Writing at Victoria’s IIML. She has previously had her work published in Valley Micropress and JAAM.