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Mara River Crossing

By Thomas Farr

Under empty, xeric sky

a herd of black gnu

wildebeest trample

green-gold grass,

a kettledrum


of cloven hooves

and mettlesome hematite

horns; wind billows

shaggy cordage,

moirés gauzy


manes. Beyond

brocaded fever

trees –

journey’s end, terminus:

mighty Mara in muddy

swell. Elsewhere,

a barrel-blob

of hippopotamus

yawns cavern

jaws as water’s aestivating

mirror breaks, reforms

around naiant

wedge-shaped heads

and tails


like swords. The herd

descends the river’s edge;

spindly-legged, grey-crowned

cranes watch but give

no warning. Massive, cataphracted,

half as heavy

as a car –

the first erupting


punches poignard

teeth into the warmth

of mammal


Water crashes glossal

roars as phytosaur-

like armoured

forms drag


backs and blatting, mother

parted calves

into crushing


clutch –

an imbrued blazonry

of blood

as Mara signs

her signature

in red.


Mara River Crossing features in Erato's Issue III: Hunger - available in print and online.


About the Author:

Thomas Farr is a British writer of fiction and poetry, much of whose work explores and challenges the human/nature binary. He has appeared or is forthcoming in Livina Press,Tales to Terrify, Aôthen Magazine, Ram Eye Press, The Jupiter Review, what's the theme zine, tiny wren lit, Red Wolf Periodical, Humana Obscura and elsewhere. If he isn't writing, he's probably running or talking to his plants.

Twitter: @tfarrpoetry

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1 Comment

Terry Trowbridge
Terry Trowbridge
Aug 12, 2023

wedge-shaped heads

and tails


like swords.

⚔️ Dynamite line.

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