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.
This funny place,
every place somewhere else.
How, I love you, turns a face,
changes minds, becomes a back.
into this river spine of loneliness
up freezing ground,
All night it rains morse code on the dome of the tent.
It is a vase of air, a lander in search of life,
transmitting this, “here I am, speak.”
For hours, I sleep, curled into a shape of a lake,
until I wake, turn into another, and because I am cold,
a lake more southerly than the last.
I wear my dark blue Toronto Maple Leafs toque,
reminiscent of the liners astronauts wear,
and divers also, which they fit beneath their helmets,
but the cold, another body now, embraces me.
Perhaps she can sniff a damp animal.
With my pores wide, I might admit
she can enter my skin,
divide, leave again
because this is her route,
bodies of rain traversing
lake after lake, letting mist
of another planet,
the warmth of the island
I once discovered at
its very centre.
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.
Hill above Conestoga,
between your fingers, a seedpod
hatching tiny feathers.
They migrate into the distance
hand prints of leaves,
giving in to
their brief flight,
and their glassy
does it rain
in the desert?
from your bones,
old rivers that scented trees,
their nakedness pointing you
to the sky,
do not ring.
I believe now,
growing absent in the garden,
and in creases of soil
they shed nettles,
in them admonishing their
preparations for regret,
from the windows
their lessening reflections,
then bear them,
because winter is the garden
of the desert,
because winter breathes the dead
I find the old firepit
that looks ancient.
It’s fifty at most,
a broken bobbin of weed
Moldy blisters from fire
are spooned away
in a broken bowl
of a skull, fingers sucked
to their stone seeds.
The wind seems to find me.
It circles my arms,
then confuses them with cedars,
it seems, coaling their bitterness,
orange gruel, and crab water
the salty beard, spreading
the unnameable colour of lichen.
I think of the fog in the lowlands this morning.
How something that can’t be perfectly seen
is the thing you want to reach for,
you say is beautiful –
becomes the very thing
you constantly lose, never quite having.
It’s strange thinking you forget.
But, I can’t grasp you, either,
you, pretending to be blinded by your hair
before I sweep it from your eyes
the yellow cornfields left trembling.
“You can find good composition in any shit-shop tourist calendar. Want my opinion? I think photography is a much arty’er art than most people believe. It’s logical to think that if you got an eye for composition, plus a few technical skills, you can learn at any photography class. One pretty place should photograph as well as any other, especially if you’re just into landscapes. Just make sure you’ve got the right filter, then point and shoot. Only, it’s not like that. Place matters in photography, just like it does in painting or writing stories or poetry. I don’t know why it does … actually, I do… because an artist puts his soul into the things he creates. For some people, ones with a vagabond spirit, I imagine, the soul is portable.”
—Stephen King from his short story, ‘N’.