4 AM

Near the end,
I stepped out into the yard
and recorded the birds for you.
They always see mornings before we do.
This evening, I turned on the recording
on my phone, and felt their vibrations
in my palm, as if they were feeding there.
I listened to the difference in the clarity
they coloured the night with,
and the kernels of your darkness
that ravens, I think, pluck for their eyes.
I never sent you this
or played it back to you.
Let there be darkness, my love.
Blackbird, sleep with me.

Eagle Lake

I keep looking for you here.
I am on the edge of a sharp pine cliff
on Eagle Lake.
I wish I could fly.
The way you taught me that day:
become silence, you said,
it is the same conductor as a wing’s.
Maybe you’re on the next lake,
streaming into this one,
or the creeks have dried,
leaving stepping stones between us,
for weren’t you once the bird
my feet listened to, the green mossy creek?
Now, the clouds chalk the sky,
and I sit by a small fire,
a golden ring inside a silver feathered nest.
Sometimes the wind comes
and flies together with the smoke.
I want love that when you
get too close, you’re blinded,
it stings, and you weep.

Victoria Day

I am driving north on Highway 6
in the starless dark. And I see
you no longer let me
hold your hand
that forms a knuckle of stone
as you dig your way
into sleep.
To the east, far into the east, are fireworks.
I watch their colours rise,
open and close,
fall back into the other side of the world
that lives in the forest.
Like a bloom climbing
out of the mossy darkness,
vanishing as it turns back
into itself.

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.

A room in the house

There is no need to believe in God
when we feel the soul, which the body gives to us, 

and I believe that today nothing’s
as lovely as the woman singing from the kitchen, 

the arms of her blouse pulled up to her elbows,

her hair slipped back behind the ears, 

her small hands kneading through
the walnut cutting board’s coarse dough,
which forms a sculpture of flour in the white air,
all of which I cannot see,
but know is there 
because this
is what I have been given
to breathe.

Poem About a Poem

I read one poet, then think of another,
and then from her, another.
You mention you dislike poems
about poetry. I do, as well, but tell me,
how many poems about poetry
can you show me are about poetry?
Think about every author of the Old Testament,
stone mazes of words, their numinous millennia,
yet forbidden to enunciate or to spell out,
for the faithless eyes,
the full name of their beloved.
Now think about the plague of crickets
outside the window, me turning from
the moth-glow of the computer on the table
to enter the unlit yard so that I may listen as they
arrange their utterances on the strands of reeds,
fanned out along the creases of the river,
so that I might hear your name mentioned
by the darkness.

About the Storm

What were we
to each other?
How you said I was like the rain
pouring myself into you
from a roof in a storm?

But I wonder now,
about that storm
angrily stomping
from roof to roof,
after, how the rain
stuck us to its sadness.

The Republic of Plastic

I think of the skein of plastic
plunging off the coast of Santo Domingo,
thrown away like trash by
you and me.
I think of the gulf stream
gathering
the debris of an airplane,
dripping from air,
from the war,
from the ends of the world,
from my things floating on
your lawn’s foam
of melting snow,
that I could have stayed here,
in the wet light of your eyes,
for a thousand years, as well.

Argument

The flowers printed on your teacup
by your lips just now,
or rather the flowers on a vine
circling.
We stir.
Fingerprints mark
time,
coil away
like our faces turned to
bees, our
sweetness stuck
to darkness.
So tiny,
or rather so far,
the flowers on
your teacup
singing
distant bells
Or, the bee humming like
a spoon.

Aegeus

I watch as my son
on the tongue of
the rock
stirs his feet over
the water,
deep
as air,
feet like
two hummingbirds
that tease their
brothers from
the underworld, who
rise up to feed
in his country
of dance and shimmer
to plunge for a time
like me
in the ocean
of his world.