When I was a boy
I told the girl
I was bionic, legs,
arms and my eyes,
and the boys,
they could kick me
between them all,
for I would only dive
in the dust
until my cheeks turned
to rain. Little boy,
you will miss
the places you’ve never seen.
You will not see the man
with your six million oceans
of sky. You will try
to come back, you will go away,
you will change your name
to try to name
what made you worth
I’m reminded about the togetherness of things
in the way things resemble each other
as they break apart, so that it’s possible
pulling is reaching too, and this
often when the world dies to put us to sleep,
loves us as it smiles,
as it tries to conceal its darkness from us,
the wind, never changing, wandering
across the same old soybean field
imitating hunger’s appetite for the invisible.
I’m walking this morning across Macdonell’s Field,
its trees scraped naked by the thin edges of sun,
and a hardened soil poised to feel
what I might break next. I’ll peer down
the old well the Mennonites dug,
see the watery coin of wish
anyone might have tossed in.
You’re walking too, the other way,
the wind raising you over the dirt
that, like me, will not get caught up in you again.
Still, these days I hope for the best.
Perhaps this morning your words
about reaching will be a simple pail,
that by bringing it up and out into the world,
it’ll echo in the ache of my arms,
and then in the cold, the hot chest.
And when I learned that I cannot swallow you whole,
that I could only chip you back
into pieces of stone
and feed this river with them,
I learned how you swim back up.
Usually, your eyes come first
settle into another’s face,
and gaze at me like a billboard
to remind me of the life I lack,
while the rest of what they carry
migrate to another — except for
a wave of hair, which in its backwards glance,
mistakes me for the man
who did not swallow you whole.
There is no name for that song.
There’s no strength that holds happiness.
There is no promised land of sadness.
The fields are gold with Fall,
they are silver with Winter.
The car is trailed with the dirt that led you here.
You note the windshield paintings
of your ancient figures, antelopes of ice melting into lakes,
arms of blue rivers white with the harvest of clouds.
There was some mission.
About the mystery, you had come to
an understanding. For instance,
the circling of geese forming wonder —
so why stay so long with them into winter?
Why not fade south with the others, like tears?
What was the sound that we made,
if not a cry?
December 26, 2018
Wilmont Township, ON, Canada
The closest I ever came to a river
was thirst. It’s ok, love, I was always sad,
more or less, yeah,
from the beginning,
before there was even you. Sometimes
the river isn’t a river, but a flood deserted
by a storm. You get to know the taste.
You know it as soon it leaves you with nothing
to fill it with.
The wind plays
at being startled by my presence,
and rakes my body for wishes
my eyes have made, the silver cravings of
two coins. It is falling head
over heals to carry you over dirt,
follows as I walk across Macdonell’s Field
until peering into the Mennonite well,
I see into the neck of the heavenly earth,
and the bare brown trees circling
our extinct sun. And in each step, the ground waits
to feel what it must give into next.
What if a word could breathe on its own,
or swim in a pail which we would draw up,
and shining, coldly, let us drink from it?
I am lost in the forest.
There is no forest.
This will tell you something
of the birds,
drawing in the sky
The earth has lost
another me. The sparrows
are the seeds,
My palm, the feather
in your hair, the lashes
are the last things
Your body in darkness lives another life.
It mists the window of your room,
lays out the southerly transmigration of dreams.
Breath writes there, trails of sleeping flesh.
So, when you wake, you will think of birds.
Lips will hum the missing words.
the grey sky
with exclamations of birds,
of the free,
their loose hold.
of you escaping
the storm, me
as much as I loved you,
this her, that she,
are not meant to break
the blink of an eye
what isn’t, then
for a second,
here I am,
so that you
feel it, my
in the breeze
of your hair,