A description of cedars is familiar, evokes a swollen scrap of scarred remembrance. This is a twisted vision of landscape, the trees only part of a shimmer that obscures even the swirling summer dust, even the horizon goes, becomes a vaguer boundary. Because there is an outlet, belching clouds of swiftly dissipating smoke - because of this he builds a dam across the river far below, storing quantities of latent power that shimmers in a vast and shining sheet of liquid mirror, covering the huts and fields of thousands of his people. In the mirror hangs a fish, grown smaller in the flooding - in its former river it had been the terror of the village children. He sees it laze below the surface, sunlight on its rows of scales, its gently rippling fins. He sees his face reflected in the water's silver, fleshy now, and scummed with algae. A flash of violent blue, a kingfisher darts silent in the corner of his eye, there where the vessels trace a cat's-cradle of blood. And, after centuries, the land lies marshy and unhealthy; he recognises (just) his features in the swarms of black mosquitoes, in the snakes that coil on tree-stumps, in the deaths from bites, disease, from loss of bearings in the false solidity, slow suckings of the unseen depths. He sees his face, recoils; resumes.
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