McDonnell's Fields

I’m reminded about the togetherness of things
in the way things resemble each other,
breaking apart, so that it’s possible pulling
is in the reaching,
and this often when the world persuades
us to sleep, conceals its darkness traversing
the wind in this old soybean field
that sews its dress for the invisible
to dance in.

I’m reminded,
walking this morning across McDonnell’s Field,
of trees etched naked by thin edges of sun,
calloused soil poised to feel
what I might break next. I’m peering down
the old well the Mennonites dug,
the watery coin of wish
undifferentiated between being dropped,
tossed away.

You’re walking too, the other way,
the wind climbing over dirt
that, like me, will not get caught in you again,
as I get caught up, hoping for the best.
Perhaps this morning your words
will be a simple pail I tug from the earth,
each grasp bringing ache into my arms.

DIY

Remember the Christmas we spent painting the rooms on Beverly Street? I stole Remember the Christmas we spent painting the rooms on Beverly Street? I stole some cheap-ass cans of paint from work; we were broke, and they were going out of business anyway. Looking back, you just wanna forget the number of layers, the heaps of reassurance, you need to persuade decay into white again (don’t you think?) I read on a DIY site that if you paint something once, you’re gonna repaint, and repaint, so try hard, know it takes time. Funny, today I’m beginning to see why, seeing the patches making their way back through the paint from the other side of the wall, like two salt stains between the door and the place where you kept your boots.

The Problem with Death

It’s not death because
only you feel your absence

And the birds translate
the broken windows’ whistling.

It’s death because
only you feel your absence

And the birds don’t understand
the broken windows’ song

is just the wind.

Because She Danced

Yes, the windows have needed replacing for years
(she had said to him a thousand times.)
But she left them, their tenuous existence,
half-reflections seeing to her forgetfulness.
She will remember when you’re
elsewhere, though, you’re sure,
how much she spent on the necessities,
like the fence to keep the dogs
from tearing up the riverbank at Christmas,
decorating their bodies with burrs,
and dance lessons for the girls
because, well, she danced once, too.
She’ll find it difficult to date memory,
the algebra of the two-sided gaze, here
minus but also plus back there.
She’ll know it’s been some time, though,
how she’d go to one,
and how opening made her different,
that for a time it changed her life,
feeling something more come in.

november 27

Light, cold rain

Wind-shield wiper swipes
the geese overhead.
It’s nice, now I need
not persuade, nor make believe
it’s possible
to stay.
The needle will cross over again,
and find north.
When winter’s scrubbed away,
geese will conduct
the sky.

This World

In this world
the snow falls
in your hair.
How to explain
touching
strands of light,
a body holy as mist.
It dissolves in my hand
and hovers.
It blackens the road.
In it, you weep, a lost world
vanishing
as it appears.

Yellow hair

This morning I heard from you.
I watched the window, wind possess
the bodies of trees,
comb the yellow hair of stripped cornfields.
I opened every window to let it come
and steal what it could,
rub out the things inside.
It’s evening now, and the cold the day’s left
sleeps in the chair beside me.
It breathes quietly as I write.
We never see ghosts, we only feel them.

2:59 a.m.

Been some time, but I just saw you
this morning on Spadina Ave.
Not sure what I was doing there,
let’s say it wasn’t a coincidence,
since you were there, too.
Btw, talking about bullshit,
a friend and me were guilty of it,
remarking how a touch
can guide a man back
to the surface of his skin,
as softly as that city of yours
takes flight from
the grey shadows of its towers
over Lake Ontario.
I wanted to tell you this (‘cause,
mostly, I know how you like a man
who makes you laugh), but I woke up,
and its 2:59 a.m. and, damn’t,
you’re too far to feel my way back
through that darkness again.

This is How it Looks When it Looks Like This

From the window, the dogs are barking,
at nothing, really, not a woman crossing the road,
or an animal, a fox, say, that comes in from the fields
by the highway, that sometimes sleeps in the shed
(the mutts always smell it),
with the machinery.

I look a little too long, there’s less and less.
Except for the overgrowth sharpening into
spools of wire and foothold traps,
the cornstalks gutted on the plains,
the cellphone tower possessed by voices,
and the street lamps where each night
crowns of light are crucified, I regard only
their instructions for departures.

So, if I could bark with them, that is what
I would start to see, what I don’t,
runways where things go where they go.
And, I would hope, too,
I’d find a way to chase away the fox
that sneaks back nearly every night,
that’s there, camouflaged by
the invisibility of things that will not expect
to be found.