Ice River

Tonight, I fell through the ice.
It’s easy to break into light,
splinter into astonishment.
It’s harder as we walk, though,
along Two River Creek,
as you point out
you skated last week
for the first time in your life.
That you fell, and
he pulled you back.
What is there you’re showing me
between the shadows
of our eyes, adjusting mine
to your darkness, to the clouds
chattering under my grey beard
of breath?
We know what loss is –
the excavation of love. But, is this what
I am meant to find when we step
next to each other in silence,
the wet pearls on your face,
for which I once dove,
giving themselves up as rocky stars
brightly fallen from the Black Sea of
your underground river?

Two Blackbirds

These things we will not say
Roads glide on ice.
Your snowy trees are swans.

Nothing is what it is
Waves are particles,
Your streetlights bless snow.

Or bees.
Or blackbirds that circle winter stars,
Frozen braille reading

Revelation of your body
In the doorway,
Your light, your hair,

Bud of darkness
Across your cheeks
My hands are brackets

That cup the shadows
Of words, our
Imperfect eclipse.

The Night Says

I’ve been watching

the snow, pressed

between

the pages of a forest,

brush the light from

a dark bird

of prey.

My eyes turn silver,

that’s the degree

to which

my eyes wish

to be green.

We have a deal.

They tell me

where they’ve gone

when I am here,

I lie to them, understand? They

promised

so much.

“Night, love is

first sight.”

they say.

“Yes, love,” it says back,

“we’re blind.”


today it rains

damp colours in old newspaper
and petals of fish bones
from an old meal
i must empty the cloudy water
from the vase too; we
are eating white rice in a window
from blue bowls that blush like lookouts
on the glass of this downpouring street
the uneven limestone rough
in the slippery light
i showed a friend that picture of you
she must be the rain or that person
you were missing
he says to himself;
and should I tell you that your
breathing as you sleep next to me
is the blurry street watering
past brick stones the only time you
are not startled by my love
but when my love is its purest
and dear i must empty the cloudy water
from the vase, too

Winterless

I am fifty this year,
after Christmas, the late buds
assemble their small hooves
in the wind of the dead season.
The Mennonites with their black horses do not walk
out into the uncovered fields,
or step over their roots tarred in muddy flesh.
We cannot love whom we must,
yet cannot imagine another;
the earth is wrong for this place.

Tourists

It looks like it’s me,

this yellow couch

in this window of particle and light.

Can we be sure

or do we confuse certainty

with things that stay?

When I hear you call my name

like a lighthouse,

like a shaft of dust in sun,

does that bring us nearer

to an answer,

or to that bluff

we’d never perfectly pronounce,

the capital of emptiness,

that place we’d see, sometimes,

up above the bay?

Draft

I remember the pain.

Now a thought, like a pillar

cracked down the centre

holding a roof that leaks

into the basement.

I listen for

the tiny letters

the steps of mice

write in stone.

I feel a draft this evening.

I felt for more, of course,

a river,

the bright black hair

of the sun cooling my ankles

into pain,

no, not this pain,

this

idea of braille

as falling snow

burning into eyes.

Because She Danced

Yes, the windows have needed replacing for years
(she had said to him a thousand times.)
But she left them, their tenuous existence,
half-reflections seeing to her forgetfulness.
She will remember when you’re
elsewhere, though, you’re sure,
how much she spent on the necessities,
like the fence to keep the dogs
from tearing up the riverbank at Christmas,
decorating their bodies with burrs,
and dance lessons for the girls
because, well, she danced once, too.
She’ll find it difficult to date memory,
the algebra of the two-sided gaze, here
minus but also plus back there.
She’ll know it’s been some time, though,
how she’d go to one,
and how opening made her different,
that for a time it changed her life,
feeling something more come in.

This World

In this world
the snow falls
in your hair.
How to explain
touching
strands of light,
a body holy as mist.
It dissolves in my hand
and hovers.
It blackens the road.
In it, you weep, a lost world
vanishing
as it appears.