The Milk River – Creagh Factor

“Seven three-line verses and a free last line, the image of a river, milk and honey, human greed, and destruction of the elements of our earth, the milk river turned sour, and our planet adrift in, I guess, the Milky Way, it uses poetry to say much in a few words.” – Gillian Clarke

They came for a land of milk and honey
but the rivers were always ours,

until they weren’t. Today
the milk river has gone sour white
bleaching the silt grey beneath the waves.

Our tiny planet, adrift in the churning seas,
looks out to a galaxy of milky stars
and yearns to swim away upstream

but we aren’t Bezos. We can’t flee
so easily. The milk river carved
our lives into the land

engraving our bones into the sand
and what is left of our soul is shared
in the milk river.

The waters and our bodies rise together
flooding the shores with escapees
as disease bleeds into the freshwater

invading our stained flesh
until we are nothing but masses
of mouths, devouring the river-milk

and yet forever thirsty.