Today

A drive to another city.
Getting lost in a forest.
Your stillness
in the grass.
Birds again.  
Sumac
in your
hair.

A River Passing

This is the way
you must look to birds,
nothing but a breeze.

Which rounds the hand,
loosens fingers’ memory,
how in your hair they digress.

To the other life
behind the trees,
overhead, a river passing.

Poem to a deer

There is an apple orchard that leans against a crest,
A shadow of a road

The horses from the barn sometimes wander there,
Scenting fruit

Breaking branches on the dull horizons of their backs,
The chase of scrub light

Mixing with you,
Loving where you take us

Wading into trees, marvellous in the thickets of wind,
To bring back

The appetite of anger
The hunger for forgiveness

To love as these crabbed branches, their clenched dark fists,
Ached in compositions of lightning

We long to join you
Your likeness to us

Though we wary of your appearances,
Vanishing in all your countless directions,

Tear-aways between the thrashed exits apple trees make
Grown too heavy, our lives unpicked in the divots of your poems,

The sky urging branches to be its roots
To go further, to leap back

And land, momentless, upon an untouchable earth.

403

I cannot wait for you.
Ice like mink slips into rivers.
Creeks rear up in horses’ eyes.
The snow is a nomad’s rags.

Winter was an envelope for Spring.
The sun was a stamp on the window circling me.
You are a foreign word on glass
the highway scrawls.

Airborne

There’s nothing green about the trees
that begin to leaf the skies.
The green is only the whites of blue
it carries, and also, we learn,
the yellow that grasps their ankles.
Of these we name, roots,
because only we can walk for years,
forgetting, even as we grasp for them,
the same way you or I might not recall
what our bodies cannot forget,
how to become a branch
falling from the sky.

Headache

We are so much
alike, you misplaced, me
put in mine,

your dress of dirt,
me, a suit
washed in

carnival flies. Maybe
we deserve nothing
other than

each other,
you who
delivered me

here, me
delivering you there,
I say,

putting words in your mouth,
worms rhyming
silly rhyme

wetly
glistening in
our heads.

First Day of Spring

Are you the lake of two rivers
and, melting, is this the river speaking
for the light?
Is highway 60 ok with
your beauty?
What I mean to say is,
is your face breaking apart
across the car’s Tamarack glass,
opening up like
the womb of a moose
taken down by wolves on
the first day of Spring,
already pregnant with sun
and ice and asphalt.

Sun

She wakes from the dream of
sun, eager, blind, devouring true heat,
words to him intent, bristling still,
tiny endings of sight.
His poetry for her, she had said,
would scour down
to carpet trails to rooms,
stairwell to hall, to cool basement
scenting furnace hum,
the twitch of winter glass,
clock in room,
expressionless mouth of
door.
She does not see a man
she stripped down to
a kind of sun, or dark star
crossing dawn into
the borders of her skin.

McDonnell’s Well

As we travel in its direction
we are carried for awhile
by stray things
we collect of each other.
This is how I’m reminded
about the togetherness of lost things,
that they resemble each other,
pulling being an expression of reach,
sleep an anchor for darkness
lowered into the sky
at the bottom of a well.
I don’t know if either of us gets there,
the one the Mennonites dug,
but maybe we are simple pail
tugged out from the earth,
each grasp we make
brimming in the other.