Two Places, South of North Bay

The snowplow winding on the on-ramp,
clawing waves apart. Wanting more. Surprised
by the image of the bear on the White River,
you said that one day, like memory, it would
be rescued upriver by ribbons of Salmon,
round its thighs. Surprise us again. You loved
my chest, you said, as if my heartbeat
was a thing that lived another life. Two winters ago,
the river knotted round the body that took you away.
I thought we were birds, but there we are underwater,
flying again. And you are smiling, of course,
possessing a different understanding of air.
A force of nature, you said, my shoulders firm
in your arms, and the rocks below, carrying
that undercurrent of resentment. But, look
at their bubbles, you said, they nearly breathe.
Your fingers and your lips loved the veins of my
large hands. Your love of repairing calloused nets.
The fishes patrolling our eyes. We thought of leaves,
as a kind of shelter. We walked on, we thought.
The feeling of beeswax on our boots. The feeling
of certain dreams. The feeling of light when eyes
are sewn by cold. The weight of snow on pine boughs.
The empty highway laying down beside us,
like us, old rivers, and holding us in its arms.
The simple wind. Forgetting.

– ph, 7,8/1/17, Hwy 11. South of North Bay, Canada

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