Driving Away

When I try to replace you with
another thought,
you say to me,
you could try being
that small fox I saw this morning,
hurtling from the woods.
Then, when I notice,
through the gravel smoke,
that you’ve spotted me again,
I’d ricochet back
into the forest
of your mind.

There

There are some things I cannot hope
to touch; these bridges, for instance,
of rain clouds between the other earths,
this river, too, brownly swelling,
like a new root burrowing in the soft air
of a newly wet sun. Meanwhile,
the prayer I make with my fingers
in the damp ends of your hair
on this humid day is not
a poem about love. It could be, though,
sitting next to you, waiting
for it to come any minute,
to touch down,
take hold for the time we’re here,
like this, yes, and like that, the same way rain
from those worlds do.

Campfire

The stick the length of me,
lifted by the beach,
skinned, bleached
by gnaw of weather
and beaver, too,
stripped of younger branches
until the end, an antler now,
almost, as if the body lay just
beyond. Its possible journeys
are what I see now, battles for
the sake of finding one, but landing
on this island anyhow –
which makes it into another thing,
after all, this burning leap
of sudden purpose, like
an antelope perhaps, dancing
for the fire.

Campfire

The stick the length of me,
lifted by the beach,
skinned, bleached
by gnaw of weather
and beaver, too,
stripped of younger branches
until the end, an antler now,
almost, as if the body lay just
beyond. Its possible journeys
are what I see now, battles for
the sake of finding one, but landing
on this island anyhow –
which makes it into another thing,
after all, this burning leap
of sudden purpose, like
an antelope perhaps, dancing
for the fire.

Wyndham

Except for the schedule
left open at pages 18 and 19
on the table by the window
beside Wyndham Street where
the train station sits,
I’m the real ghost here. So,
don’t believe anything else
you hear, I’m the ghost sitting
in one of the
two empty chairs
facing each other
(their wooden stares, haha)
looking out the window
at the life, as it were,
as if I were on a train returning
to the place that
took me away.

Eagle Lake

I keep looking for you here.
I am on the edge of a sharp pine cliff
on Eagle Lake.
I wish I could fly.
The way you taught me that day:
become silence, you said,
it is the same conductor as a wing’s.
Maybe you’re on the next lake,
streaming into this one,
or the creeks have dried,
leaving stepping stones between us,
for weren’t you once the bird
my feet listened to, the green mossy creek?
Now, the clouds chalk the sky,
and I sit by a small fire,
a golden ring inside a silver feathered nest.
Sometimes the wind comes
and flies together with the smoke.
I want love that when you
get too close, you’re blinded,
it stings, and you weep.

Victoria Day

I am driving north on Highway 6
in the starless dark. And I see
you no longer let me
hold your hand
that forms a knuckle of stone
as you dig your way
into sleep.
To the east, far into the east, are fireworks.
I watch their colours rise,
open and close,
fall back into the other side of the world
that lives in the forest.
Like a bloom climbing
out of the mossy darkness,
vanishing as it turns back
into itself.

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.

A room in the house

There is no need to believe in God
when we feel the soul, which the body gives to us, 

and I believe that today nothing’s
as lovely as the woman singing from the kitchen, 

the arms of her blouse pulled up to her elbows,

her hair slipped back behind the ears, 

her small hands kneading through
the walnut cutting board’s coarse dough,
which forms a sculpture of flour in the white air,
all of which I cannot see,
but know is there 
because this
is what I have been given
to breathe.