Sunny Day

This is how you weep.
You rest your head
Against the wall,
The monster you saved
On the other side,
Outside, a tree
Crouching
In the parking lot,
Still. Still. Still.
The leaves,
Waiting inside, afraid
To tremble.

– ph 28/5/17 Guelph

Inflicted

I’m interested in those one or two
who stopped writing poetry because
of the oldest kind of loss
they felt they were given
to make new in themselves,
which, for them, was the world that wrapped itself
around this one, the poets who had always
accepted that beauty was the voice
that required a voice. Think of the ancient Celt
warrior whose armour was recitation. Their fight
was against loss, and for it; a spy welcomed
as an ally. Unlike novelists, poets aren’t curious
about endings, just questions as to how to continue
locating the next stepping stone,
after the newest break. They remember, then, its footfall
never once gained purchase with paper, and now somehow
can’t manage to read the wordlessness of
the heart, or the mind, or the soul
or whichever word he holds in himself
by hiding it there, like a self-inflicted wound,
and the love for it.

The Tall Cedars

One must live in the present, you said,
looking back, the flecked fins of river
washing blue into your hair, and
when the wind drew up,
black rain from the silver clouds.
June, maybe July, I suppose, longer than a year,
though, driving upriver along the Nith
time doesn’t pass, you say to myself —
There’s no way to hold,
regardless of the knuckled white upon the wheel,
how firmly the bodies, our waterskins, are held.
There’s only the river.
There’s only the green squadrons of clouds
dropping from the sky, changing shape as they near,
into the tall cedars.

Spain

I am almost gone from here, if only
I could go a bit further…the cars on
the road coast in the rain, each one
slip into their exit holes
in my brain, but the pain doesn’t hurt;
it rides; it blurs
the stop signs. Like every tin war,
rain’s a lie; it’s only grains of doggerel, you see…
you think you see through. It’s too much
of everywhere to get through,
I’m still the king of Spain.

Monkey Girl

Two years ago, here,
I jotted in this notebook
to you each day.
You would speak
to the trees, gather with a group of them,
like sisters,
& you would touch one,
it seemed, sensing their
heartsound.
[…]
Now knowing that when I return to the city,
you’ll be gone, I’ll leave you here,
monkey girl, where the wind
from Misty Lake through the
Tamarack woods is the murmur
of your blood in my ears –
& the tree’s ears too,
which as you told me, of course,
are their leaves,
& which I’ve stolen one
from a Juniper, I think,
or maybe an oak, I’m not sure
and, any way, have hidden
in this notebook,
in the gesture
of silencing; or,
no…
listening.

– Grassy Bay, Algonquin

The red pine needles are not dust

The red pine needles are not dust.
Perhaps the sun is an orange sun.
Within these ribs of trees,
I feel I am inside a creature,
the way Jonah said he was,
so the red pine needles
is the blood
of the body.
Then, why the sun,
and the myth?
Have you considered
that the red pine needles,
which cover this body
around me
are the radiant worms
of this afterlife?

– Misty Lake, Algonquin