Summer Day

If I could take back
every word,
now,

to settle
back between
us,

our
silence,
our highest
branches,
thinly touching.

Like beauty,
no word for ‘us’ —
only the wild guesswork
of wind, the
tips of our tongues
grasping for the
taste of it, already
tasting the end.
 
Remember that afternoon
we left together,
coming off
Lake Opeongo
the wind busy
scattering
 
its big islands of white clouds
crossing the
dash like
Thomson’s ‘Summer Day,’

you turning
to peer away,
drawing me in, then,
to the reflection of
you — green and
blue hills
of birch, nearly
transparent,
 
tamarack,
slender and
teetering.

Constellations of the Backcountry

If it could, the water snake would see
how it lives in a mirage of reeds,
flat on Lac Grande. I, on the other hand,
saw it the night before, unknotting its
meteor tail through the milky way,
like a net we, before me, used up the air,
I imagine, to throw there. It made me
wonder about these sounds, too, that
this morning I hear disguised as waves,
and the particles, I don’t see,
pretending to be me. What can they reveal,
now that I am gone, and so that I may
come back? Nothing comes to me now,
but perhaps the way is to measure silence
by the years, listening for that signal to say,
“I was here.”

– Lac Grande, La Vérendrye, Quebec