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Alik' being the secondtolastremaining
on the island of dust sat greenknees bent
at the roots of the ancient magic tree
(long dead in the revolving heat)
pouring from a glass jar
clinking against his stainedglass sleeve
cool salty silver to soften that ancient bark
curling off in brownburnt threads and patches
and in a metal tub beaten in brine until soupish
& screened up & baked flat in the sun
(and meanwhile plantman set about the black coast
 taking every third blackstone for ink)
and with a blade of dried grass drew the old symbols
on the treepaper squares and laid them out in the air
across the ravine like stepping stones
glid glassclad green Alik'
to the flower and the salvation
of dust.

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