Words about Rivers


I write about rivers again,
As if they were about love.
The raft, for instance, I saw,
Glued-together by summer of
Tamarack reflections.
Winter is here
To suffocate,
Smoothly disfigure into
A perfect smooth bruise.
So, love buries loss,
Before it creates it.
Every word is a second language.
Rivers are clear
About this: they are ghosts.
They leave, they come,
They are never here.
Only bodies swim.
Only a body holds a promised land.
Only bodies drown.

The Good Hunter

My father spoke little when we’d hide all day together
behind the blind, waiting for deer to come for
the buds, half-high above the creek.
For days, now, I’ve driven by places.
I drive with the radio off, and in the evenings
I sit at the edge of my bed without music.
It’s not on purpose, it’s always luck.
I suppose it’s the body, that it still remembers certain tricks; nod
discretely to itself, offer a knowing glance,
gesture with a finger, “wait.”
I move to the sliding door and from here
I scan fields through the tracts of stripped forest,
and then through that, another, and when
the light changes and lands on me,
I know a good hunter
will see the form, bare
as the tree in the centre of a field, I passed today,
and then like the deer that comes to me now,
balanced, in my mind, over the ice,
ears erect to almost nothing but glass
opening into the invisible river.

The Sky, Dull as Asphalt


Wildflowers are weeds
& dead poets

beside the road,

two ways, flashing,
splitting ways in half

& timekeeper ticking
a thin, plastic heartbeat.


He would like to turn
before the turn; for the road

again; in the distance

it holds up
treeline spine

of sky and field
& shows how pages

press a dead flower
of a man.


He writes, third person.
Whom decides?

Words, tiny, mean bones,

Only a body contains
a promised land.


Today the breeze
is fresh truth.

Every field makes its path.
Every path is not a path.

The dead blooms strangle,
contentedly; to be killed

just enough
to bring back to life

the scent
in the colour

& slant of ache.


City corners me with trigonometry
of windows, skinless sockets
boned in and out with breezes streetcars ride.
The women here are lovely, but love is light
that stops, then goes. A subway vent
chases leaflets and newspaper,
paper cups and wrappers.
I’ve used up everything I have
to write with.

“Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.”

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

You stand over there.
This is the way you speak, across
a river, or from the window
of a passing car, or behind a door
in a room with boxes
spilling the guts
of another move. So, when you speak,
each voice from these places, together,
come to me, and share things they know,
but mostly things that
could not stay true.
I think it’s this way because
you always said you liked the way birds
will sometimes
land in a tree together,
or all at once
burst away.
Was this how I was meant
to understand you
through the untrackable passage
of reaching,
because only reaching comprehends touch
before it lands?
If so, I understand, or I did that night
I followed you, driving out
to the country
where the snow, for hours,
lay untouched,
except for the tire tracks,
behind me,
heading back.