Alien Landscape

by Lesley Iwanejko

It is an alien landscape
Neither distance nor torrential rain
Are able to erase the scene
Huge, black, slagheaps
Silhouetted headframes* 
Drawing closer
Damp coal dust cloys the air
Clog’s my nostrils
My feet drag heavily in grey clay
The picture is stark and imposing 
Framed by ancient iron gates
A feral cat looks on forlornly
Despondent, scrawny and wet
Warily eyes the lone visitor
Relics of my past dangle on rusted hooks
The winch and cage beckon
And I am slowly swallowed
Engulfed by the gapping chasm
Sinking into the earth
There is no escape
Only cold, black, silence

*A headframe is the metal framework structure at the entrance to a mine shaft