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Río Nuevo

Huge mounds of earth, upturned grass,

eucalyptus logs carried along the surface.

Around soya farms, land gaped open like a canyon. Terra firma’s revenge.

Water rushed down a deep gully carved beyond the wire fences of Argentinean flatlands. Abject sludge pumped through Cuenca del Morro basin,

chiselled a network of waterways, ravines.

A new river appeared – the Río Nuevo.

Rich plaid of woods, bosques, grasslands,

natural sponges, now gone for tassels of maize, soya beans, all in rows.

Large agro-groups killed the native forest to plant this new golden crop – La soja.

Deep rooted trees replaced by tiny rhizomes that grow fast, barely touching the ground,

only there a few weeks per year.

New owners didn’t rotate their crops.

A Martian landscape rapidly arose.

As soil shifted, gave up under its own weight breathless, falling behind. Locals sensed buried flows. Nothing was permeable.

Shallow tunnels sprung up, erosion hastened,

turned streams into deep wide trenches.

Campesinos clawed at unstable cliff walls,

a clod of soil dissolved in their hands.

“It’s basically dust.” Es como polvo.

In the middle of a field, a giant canyon drops abruptly away, currents rush at the bottom.

The land has been cleft in two. An electricity pole on each side of the bank, its cables still attached to rods leaning sideways, rusty old nails to hung bouquets of artificial flowers.

Pampero storm gathers force, wind follows,

it laughs out loud, carrying bleached sterile seeds.

Leo Boix

75

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