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.

The Average Lifespan of a Dog

Now that I’m a dog, sun cuts to
the quick of memory, my bones gnaw me,
my words, like code, click
the hair-scratched floor.
Now, with fifteen years, less or more,
left, will growls strangle their collusions
with reflections in glass? Will the bite
get a taste for streams of curbs? Perhaps,
it’s time to take the man, chained inside,
to the trail that runs behind the house,
where light outlines the wind-thinned
limbs of trees, some beautiful cage.
My life’s run-down the sticks its unleashed,
and its always returned with something else.

Firepit on Lac Dragon Island

I find the old firepit
that looks ancient.

It’s fifty at most,
a broken bobbin of weed

and blueberry.
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
crawling in

the salty beard, spreading
the unnameable colour of lichen.

To Be

It is interesting to be human,
to shit and to piss,
then die of cancer,
or leap, alone, from a bridge,
or to enfold each other in flesh,
to apprehend a whisper,
to stagger under
the unbearable weight of love;
to invent
a song for beauty,
to sounds of weeping –
or just to feel your life,
while the hunger of loss
feeds you.
Find your voice again
in the child or the lover,
who come to you
to give it back;
there’s some mystery to it,
our lives that grasp
abiding Spring, and
which our bodies,
as always,
choose to kiss,
then betray.

– ph 17/12/16 (Ancaster, ON)