Canvasbacks

You do not seem to have your voice, only words,
pinaceae, azimuth, canvasback, azure,
and pictures you cannot truthfully describe,
(though not precisely pictures because
these colours are different) — the way, afterwards,
she reposes atop the length of your back
(while you cheek the pillow clouded
in her hair’s oils) in the attitude
of a compasses’ two lines meeting
to point north, or as if you were were those
roughly hewn tables of blunt Obsidian you see
along the Anishinaabe lakes
northwest of Pikangikum territory in late August
when the westerlies gather up the muscled stratocumulus rain
and soothes the blisters of lakes, heavyset,
blue-like as slate, and rubs down to reveal them.
I could say this is love, though love, in this regard,
can only to be a watermark left on the skin
of this stone, sacrificed by pliocene cruelty,
not like a scar or a bruise or ache (not even that),
but like the arrow of paint drying on the point of a black brush,
it is always never what it becomes, an eyelash
that tightly grimaces at the sting of turpentine or,
if you prefer, the evaporating balm of words,
like the bittersweet scent of juniper.

-ph 21/2/17

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