Recollection

And, we’re not even that old.
Though in front of you
I see how you forget already.
I hear how you say, you’ll try,
then hug me. But then you lean
and hold too long and next begin
to slip until the strain
is too much for me. And, there it is,
your eyes say,
your body against mine, as if perhaps
you had strayed in your sleep,
and here I was, lucky to catch you.
But, at 52, things are different with me.
Every hour my recollection betters,
with all that time we didn’t have.
I hold you there, bright still,
ripening at my touch,
an orchard of a thousand yous.

Talk to Me, Listen

Something tells me, I should live.
For what? Every day, I feel in me
the words dwindle,
and hear the new tongue of the breath,
as it meets me in the elevator,
or at the light when it’s gone yellow,
and then red. Breathing is involuntary,
it mouths, again and again. But the heart
is not. It is the sun.
The breeze speaks for it when it is gone.
Wait, it says.

Poetry Reading at the Coffeehouse

Maybe you are here tonight, back there,
sitting behind the darkness.
That darkness resembles you, you know,
and perhaps speaking to it
resembles me, who when he’s done
reading this, will have another coffee,
take the backroads he used to get here,
forget you again, like directions
to some place we needed each other
to bring the other to. You always insisted
on the open cup, your small shoulders that rose,
inhaling its steam as if you knew
you knew you’d disappear, too.
But, you don’t, both of us so inept,
even me forgetting how to forget,
reading tonight about a woman
who wondered what I would say next
if I’d run out of words. I don’t tell her,
because this is exactly what
I’m hoping for, that nothing
would happen in that poem,
that you would disappear in it,
that I would follow.

Revision

I was going somewhere, it seemed.
My clothing folded in piles on the bed.
I was putting them away.
The sun edged the corners of the drawers.
It occurred to me,
it’s not too late to change my mind,
to forget all that’s happened,
that I’d just arrived,
that someone,
who had just stepped out for a moment,
who had been here waiting for me,
would return,
the sun edging the corners
of the drawers.

Lately

I am looking for something new.

I stare at my books. I am looking out the window.

I would like to say, Junebugs are speaking

to the stars, though that barely means

what I want it to.

Lately, I’ve been so calm, you say.

And I realize you are looking out a window

at me, looking for something old,

something the stars sang with.

Travel

Tell me something, you said. A story.
But sounds from the freeway pass through
the shadows of trees.
They slip into moonwhite soccer fields.
I hear something like the instincts of waves
that blindly reach their paths to shores.
Listen,
I only want to imagine how you could love me
in this far-reaching darkness,
and the distance I’ve travelled in wonder.

The Birds that Summer

And the muscles of wind
loosening everything,
though I knew you when the sun stuck
to all of it,
and light, having traveled 96 million miles,
brought your face close. Still,
you shivered at night.
You were so thin then.
I feel the sunlight here and there today; I hold on
to what is leaving.
I try to forget how things change.
I try to remember the birds that summer
that somehow to make it it back.

Plague

This morning, there are no directions; distances, yes,
there, stretching inside the vault of an overcast sky,
and hands-and-knees up to this unopened door.

Here, last night, I listened to leaves of your voice,
strewn on the hallway floor, and a man you once knew.
He was lost, he said, in the neighbourhood, too.

I overheard a conversation once, spliced on a wire.
An alien choir of radio telescopes once conducted
the rustling of galaxies, echoed back to me.

Last night, though, two jets skated on the black ice of
Orion and Andromeda. They circled.
Night thoughts blinked, for them no landfall.

So, I continue to travel the night, a passenger
stuck to a window, pulled by false wakes of dead stars,
and new leaves of falling leaves.

Today, though, here,
this is what the light offers: Walking on
the canopies of trees, rousing nebulas’ scents.

Yes, red birds are dying mid-flight,
the sky is falling a little more.
Earth holds firm to what it can.

– Ancaster, ON – 27/10/16