Hill Station

“We look before and after,
and pine for what is not…”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Drawing maps for the hill
station, really they were modeling

the wilderness after their own cities
in the west: Burnham in his prairies,

his stockyards and early prototypes
of sky-scrapers. Aspiring to the colonies

birds build high in trees: their rookeries,
extravagance of space opening for light

over the middle court. On one side, plots
for residences. And on the other, buildings

of state. Lagoons, a greenway, promenades
for The White Citysemi-utopia in which

visitors were meant to be shielded from poverty
and crime.
In their records you won’t find

a list of indigenous names, families moved
along with livestock deeper into the nameless

periphery of rice terraces, lemon groves,
and more than a hundred species of fern.

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