Kioshkokwi

It rained in the kitchen
this morning.
Can I speak this way to you?
There is, after all, my passion
to consider, and your grace.
As I walked near the open sill today,
rain
breezed in, and I admitted
to myself, this feels like
a blessing might. So,
shall I
say something? After all, I
only feel it, like two
minor chords playing in their
different time, a miracle
because they steadily
enlarge
joy
from pain
But, I want you to tell me
about this thing of
hardly being born.
On Kioshkokwi River, we
paddled to Crooked Island,
south of Lost Dog Bay, and we
knelt
under a ridge of pine,
then spread ourselves into
eddies of fern and juniper,
as the storm pushed across,
and after
we lay surprised at the kind of rain
leafs and those long, untouchable
cuticles of sun can make,
without words, or praise, except
after, a spruce grouse from where we had
hid startled us, thumping up,
and coasted
through
the vivid woods.
And it drifted across the sill,
this morning, warm,
the light
turning in
a breeze against the sail of glass.
And, so, do I tell you I feel
dying here
is not quite
possible? That some things
arrive deep in night, or on
the thin surfaces of
mornings because
the days
only end, utterly.
Can I put this to words
for you, then believe that
we will continue to see
other days like
Kioshkokwi, that drifted
back this morning?
As though it rained that night,
droplets of sweat budding on
your lips, constellations
collecting along
your collarbone,
their tiny
stars emanating just beyond
the ochre nimbuses of your breasts,
celestial bodies
making
landfall
beneath me.
And, as I passed by
the window this morning,
left open all night, the rain
came in, at last
whirring through like
a river
in the air,
coming back
to life.

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.

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.

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

Athena

She sleeps on the rock.
Laying on her back, she folds her legs.
Like kneeling in the air.
The storm will come
From valleys and from peaks.

Concession Rd. 7

I’m beginning to doubt even what I do not see,
in front of me. I cannot account for the fridge door,
opened wide. I can’t say why I ordered coffee.
If they stopped me now, asking, who’d confess to speeding
past the limit? This is less plain than it looks.
I must direct myself to write down each thing I forget, to come as close
as I can come to things that are moving away — they’re hints,
I remind myself. They’re side roads that let me imagine
the taste of leaves in their trees, paper-thin dust on the tip of
the tongue.

North Bay Fire 72

The backcountry hasn’t found its way back into rain
for weeks. Fires breathe in dark green between
Lehay and Makobe. Is rain the manifestation of touch?
Tenuous lightening spreading, like the shadows
of low clouds over Maple Mountain?
It feels so much when you barely feel it.
The skin turns spirit.
I’ve followed them on the maps for days.
Despite what we feel, they’re not out of control;
something within’s forming a single path
to all the rivers in the body.

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?