In Cerrejón

by Fergus Blair

These snakes are the best
Natural sandpaper you can
Get ’round here he
said.
And my guide,
With a name I couldn’t
Pronounce then told
Me that they were also
Tasty.
Which was all for
The best because we’d been
Here a while.
One hell of a guide.
I should be home by now,
Sleeping deep and watching the
News.
Ironic because I am the news,
I think.
You can get enough to drink
From the coconuts.
The sky will take care of you.
Comforting words
For a fearless man.
Dear diary, I’m
Slowly becoming a
Colonialist. It’s just me and the
Guide all the rest are dead.
And I think racist thoughts which
Undermine my liberal temp
Erament. If I’m not careful I’ll
Die before I’m 43. Just 3 days to go.
Three days and a lifetime in this
Hellhole of a swamp.
I couldn’t give a damn about
Natural sandpaper. I thought
As I bit the head off a snake.
Chewy, like the centre of
A muffin.
I like to pretend that
My sister writes me.
I tear up random leaves
And the lines are of pen
Telling me it’ll be OK.
Why couldn’t we eat the bodies?
It’s against his religion. He said he’d kill
me, as he sharpened his knife
with a snake, if I tried to.