I go out and take pictures

of some trees off Concession Road,
yellow in the chalky sun, soft rain
touching through the land’s hills
of rising mist, like schools of
nearly imperceptible electrons.
One nearly expects a shipwreck.
A matter of fact, this is the same time, last year,
I photographed the old Clippers
on Lake Ontario by the ruins of Fort York,
built during the War of 1812. And,
this is when it occurs to me,
it’s your birthday today.
Well, you know me: this is how I remember
then don’t again, or this is the method
I see through my forgetfulness,
a negative developing in a darkroom,
an eel held in two hands recollecting
what little light there is around it,
not that anyone I know does this anymore.
Do you recall when I told you I’d take you
some place nice? You’d stay
home, you said, though, slip your body
deep into a steaming bath,
and pinprick the darkness of your bathroom
with every candle from the package of 46
you bought at IKEA,
because it held exactly the number of years
you’ve lived up to, to today.
Anyway, my memory is like this,
not that you need another example;
for instance, when last week I suggested
to an old friend we go to Beertown to watch the Leafs,
who haven’t made the playoffs since ’03,
like he and I talked about doing when they
nearly made it last year, and he just said,
“maybe.” It doesn’t matter, though,
now: this time, Washington beat Toronto
in five. What’s done is done,
in another time, and all that.

You know what?
The camera’s memory card is used up,
and the rain’s picking up steam.
Running back to the car, opening the door,
and switching on the windshield wipers,
I’m wondering,
why is it rain always makes me feel
as if the world is suddenly an island
dropping away, into the sea?
Of course, I don’t need the rain to know
no one can be certain about anything
because, at least in my life,
nothing really happens when something does,
nothing falls where it should,
“Yet without the raindrops on the lens,”
I see you saying at some nice, tiny restaurant
in Kensington Market, a little candle between us,
and my photograph in your hand,
“it would be just another picture of trees.”

– pH, 25/4/17

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