In Kortright Park, two white tailed deer leap through grass frost.
What do they eat in the winter? you ask.
Why is it so hard to know what you want?
What makes darkness, light? I say.
What makes hunger, thirst?
Is there anything dark and sweet as your mouth?
I’m tree-like. In this world, there is music quieter than air.
You are constellation. Each day you leap into dark.
Do you think of cave paintings left by ancient hunters,
thoughts of buds on alderbanks of frozen creeks?
Yes, I think of deer vanishing into islands they breathe.
Your small, white feathers on
the back of the seat in my car
are still there. Or, rather, your coat’s.
The day you said, you’d have
another by Christmas.
Now winter’s here.
It must be coincidence,
at night when I open the balcony door,
and hear the jay repeating itself
from the nest,
from nowhere last spring,
stuck still on that branch,
like a bow.
I open the door as wide as it goes,
listen as it comes in.
And when I wake the room is very cold.
I take the car and I drive.
I pass field after field,
wrapped in frost, like a gift
I was never meant to open.
the sun comes in
from the unraked yard
so red leaves can leap
to the shallow earth
in their light current of rain
Often, I am angry at you, but at this moment,
I am not.
I see the the easiness of change
as we drive to the arena.
Light from traffic through the dash
redoing your face.
Your daughter’s skates
opening cuts of light.
Our possible lives.
you slept in your car with the heater running.
At noon I wrote something in a coffee shop
and burned my lips.
Like this, let’s say we
Let’s say you drove here, the ice
not so terrible as it looks,
She is at the rink, and the girls are skating,
synchronized like a ritual migration of birds.
He looks at her, and wants to say, do you want to
stay the winter with me.
But it’s too late; she’s mostly gone,
her eyes led by the Zamboni, like
gulls whirling around a fishing trawler,
searching for more ice.
The heart is a strange room,
smaller, abstract, a shoebox.
He’s been waiting and
the place smells of him,
his country, for a time,
the orange and yellow flowers in the blue room,
the mirror where he saw her look at herself
while they made love,
the small picture on the wall.
But now the books of poetry
pile on the desk, lean into the
plaster like history. The flowers,
flaccid and hunched. And past them,
outside the window, a train again,
crossing the space between,
not yet home.
No stars, geese low, travelling south.
You feel that your body in darkness
Is another life.
It rubs lightly past the faint window
Of your room, an image,
Skimming water between morning and
The southerly transmigration of dreams.
Closing the glass, it whistles something,
Sleepily. But you,
Your lips rest, and hum something else.
You think of birds.
One feels nothing
when the first days of November
arrive to fill in the wind-scoured constellations of geese
or to carry away
the sour mounds of apricot,
October peeled away.
where do the deer sleep here,
wake, cut away
under the grey trance of sky
when the blind car unzips its haste down
the threadbare road revealing
crops of still life too ingrown for
decay and that crisscross beneath
the unspoken snow,
yet to make landfall.
The floor’s stricken with scuff marks,
graven as a cirrus sky.
Not a sound comes to me.
I miss the thunder.
I’m waiting for you,
or the words for you.
I miss the lightening.