With them, I break my animal trail,
Canoe scrapes treelight for creeks.
Words dam rivers,
Comets rise to feed.
I breathe like them,
Airholes stars have pricked.
Having passed under it all,
A world’s run over with me,
Migrant island boats steeped with spruce,
My boots choke on the taste of clay.
Blazes are the eyes of steppingstones.
I see perfectly when they come to me.
This map flows river after river,
creeks popping through them, like bent nails.
I read its mind on Evelyn again,
wind stealing it from your hand,
stuffing it down its pocket of rapids.
I’d go to those rivers once.
It didn’t matter,
you’d never stop finding me.
So, I believed that what the tongues
and grooves of water had to say
that you loved a wilderness
more than I could ever.
You’d just come to me,
you, your invisible map,
only I could see,
so that nothing, I thought,
would steal it.
My left shoulder shares its pain
with my elbow. Hand is clutched by
the seismic rumours. It draws the hill in
the maple forest we portaged
that continues, like a camel’s back,
to carry the thirst down
into these days. Like everything at 53,
even the thirst is heavier,
the creek in the valley, as I climb,
years on top of years,
stonier, deeper, nearly bright.
She sleeps on the rock.
Laying on her back, she folds her legs.
Like kneeling in the air.
The storm will come
From valleys and from peaks.