Old Growth

I always felt it was in the looking,
though waiting seems better now
that time has narrowed, like the trail
I’ve been following that goes through
the old growth pine of Shish-Kong Lake.
I’ve been here a thousand times,
but the path keeps changing.
The lake below spins faster than ever.
The trees seem to root into blue above,
as if the water could be desperate for sun.
And the birds climb their branches,
leaping southward, though more and more
I notice the ones that stay
as though, for some reason,
the best way to save their lives
is by not returning.

Where the River Takes You

I had hoped the scratches
on my back you left
would remain, like

a grassy floor
a deer leaves,
after a night. But

you showed me
a moth’s wings, instead,
the deer knowing, then,

to stay quiet, within,
to lay in the breeze.
See the wings greying

to mirror the burn
around us, you said. Yes,
though you do not

seem, yet, to sense
the creases of
the old river skin’s

hands, fingerless upon
the brown bear
swimming

towards this mothy shore of trees,
its claws that cannot root
into marks,

or tracks stretching
to the room a deer
wakes into.

Light Years Away

Light is always years away, so when it’s here,
it’s not, is it? Like you, when we’re on 60, going 90,
your windowed reflection glares back at me,
in that typical disappointed way of yours,
while on the other side of the glass, you’re a shaman dream
overlaying the land, skipping from eons of archipelagos
to lakes, kicking past 2nd century tamarack shins,
and untouched, soaring, like your spirit told me it did,
between the rack of a moose, taken down by wolves
on the first day of spring.

Light Years

Light is always years away,
so when it’s here, it’s not.
Like you.
When we’re driving
120 kilometres an hour
on Highway 60 through
Algonquin Park, your face
in the window’s reflection looks
back at me while outside
it flips across surfaces of lakes
and tamaracks, and, unhurt,
between the horns of a moose.