The Trees of Nassagaweya Canyon


We forget each season how this plague is so lovely:
the skyblood of blue birds, bees’ orange leaves,
rain yellowed in tall grasses. Gust-blurred trees,
gesturing their scoured rags. I need to imagine this
as loss. I see love in that. I see it the same way
I watch the trees, masts, pulling away what’s inside,
their knuckled fingers and knots of cartilage
muscled in stony moss, roots, a body,
that swallows another body. Here, I uncover yours.
You lean into the tree over Nassagaweya Canyon,
not yet prepared, this moment, to desert. You continue,
instead, to inquire for a movement that will still you.
You’re dressed for it, your orange sweater, red lipstick.
But, is it a flag, surrender to the bluster,
and the day’s patched-up camouflage
that loss has fitted for you, as loss obliges?
We know the tree travels toward another death,
into a disaster of lights: reds, oranges, blues,
reds, oranges, blues, and we watch as they paint
bridges across the vanishing firmament of the canyon,
Imitating rain, imitating birds, imitating sparks
that in an another time might have been souls
unpuzzlling from a body, enacting the same floating sensation
of music. It is in this way that I see you as another season.
I see that it lets you fall away into an emptiness, or as
you call it, a spacious sail. Every season, though, is prodigal,
and returns to earth because earth is the most spacious.
You’ll make landfall. You’ll press against roots brailled
with the tree’s final words: “turn around, look down to your feet,
see all of these beautiful colours you’ve become.”

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