The Only Sign of Life by John Grey

In the creeping brown stream
behind the abandoned textile mill,
chemical runoff
curdles the current.

No birds to be heard.
No squirrels. 
No painted turtles.
Not even a water rat.

The sun’s a trespasser
poking around in weeds and grass,
climbing down from 
broken rooftop tiles
to peer in at rusty machinery.

Then something long and scaly
glides close to the bank,
head hidden underwater,
all but for two red piercing eyes.

The town is dying
of competition from the south.
And here comes the grim reaper,
reptilian at last.

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