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.

Ice Out

Light is always years away,
so when it’s here, it’s gone,
like us, when we’re on 60, going 90,
your windowed reflection there
so that I see through your love,
the drink of you spilling from me
and taken by the winter molt of lakes,
like an all-in poker hand, winning you,
swallowing you
whole through the teeth of tamarack,
doing this, not touching,
encrusted in, like your spirit said it would,
in the eye pits of a moose,
taken down by wolves
on the first day we said
we knew it had to be Spring.

Beauty Lake Rd.

All afternoon
and near night
this deer
inside me
scenting for
its place
to die and lay
together,
this
deer, this
me,
we search
the sky
for it, or
the light
of each place,
to enter earth
’til finally
we see,
stepping
into
our tracks
to take us
there, the bird
that turns
air into
rivershape.

Constellations of the Backcountry

If it could, the water snake would see
how it lives in a mirage of reeds,
flat on Lac Grande. I, on the other hand,
saw it the night before, unknotting its
meteor tail through the milky way,
like a net we, before me, used up the air,
I imagine, to throw there. It made me
wonder about these sounds, too, that
this morning I hear disguised as waves,
and the particles, I don’t see,
pretending to be me. What can they reveal,
now that I am gone, and so that I may
come back? Nothing comes to me now,
but perhaps the way is to measure silence
by the years, listening for that signal to say,
“I was here.”

– Lac Grande, La Vérendrye, Quebec

Opeongo

Days spent driving north, its roads
ground down to rivers
of gravel
almost flour,
needing
to bare all,
or, at least, tired
of their distance.

The sun rehearsing its,
“where were you last?”
searching, perhaps, for the thing
misplaced,
an undying faith
that once it is pierced,
by the horizon’s arrows of tamaracks,
and disembowels into
the Opeongo,
its beauty will be grasped.

Likewise, they never hear from me, or
I them, but how can any of us
miss
the beautiful inarticulate birds
circling for roadkill
as if the world had always revolved
around something not gone,
just missing?