Jordan Abel, "Terra Nullius (3-5)"

The outlet of the cavern meets the wandering beams. Moments strayed. These rocks are full of cracks, and in some places they are softer than at others. The water has worked out deep hollows for itself, until it has fallen back some hundred feet. Breaking here and wearing there. Until the falls have no shape, no consistency. The brook was irregular in its width, sometimes shooting through narrow fissures in the rocks, and at others spreading over acres of bottom land, forming little areas that might be termed ponds. When the smoke had been driven away, it was clear that the cavern had an outlet like an eruption from a volcano. A current of air issued from the ravine. The tumbling river washes bones, but healing waters will never bring life. The head waters. The adjacent lakes. The vaults of the forest.The rush of the waters. The swell and sink of air. The sweetness of nature. The passage in the rocks. The lightning. The flame. The foaming waters. The narrow, deep cavern. The nature of the light. The steep, rugged ascent. The path that curiously wound among rocks and trees. The tumbling river. The healing waters.

As it appears in The Malahat Review's Indigenous Perspectives Issue (#197)

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