I have not heard your voice
in some time.
The cat and 4am
the window still while
5 takes its time
to get here, for
not heard your voice
in some time.
what else can the cat
and the screen do
but stare at me
I write these words,
so that I can again?
The weight of forty kilos in the sack of flour I carried on my shoulder
and you waiting in the no-parking zone on Wyndham.
Other things are heavier.
The notes in a song.
Your small hands on the
steering wheel and their
bees-wax stain in my skull.
The question, what is it inside this
I haven’t said and that I’ll say once more,
to stamp out its flesh.
The maps of nowhere in
the side pockets of your door.
The weights of balances and off-balances.
The delicate china of your medieval language,
aşkım, aşkım, aşkım.
The emptiness of faith, its freedom weeded by
the certainty of the barren things we walk beside.
The bicycle leaning against a stone wall,
I should have taken.
Like the million poets in a single flower,
each forgetful and beautiful and the
cleaned-out trunk empty
and ready to carry it all away,
as if I no longer cared who
witnessed me murdering
the thing that carried this thing
between the lines of a spot
where no one, heavier by the second,
All night it rains morse code on the dome of the tent.
It is a vase of air, a lander in search of life,
transmitting this, “here I am, speak.”
For hours, I sleep, curled into a shape of a lake,
until I wake, turn into another, and because I am cold,
a lake more southerly than the last.
I wear my dark blue Toronto Maple Leafs toque,
reminiscent of the liners astronauts wear,
and divers also, which they fit beneath their helmets,
but the cold, another body now, embraces me.
Perhaps she can sniff a damp animal.
With my pores wide, I might admit
she can enter my skin,
divide, leave again
because this is her route,
bodies of rain traversing
lake after lake, letting mist
of another planet,
the warmth of the island
I once discovered at
its very centre.
I’m reminded about the togetherness of things
in the way things resemble each other
as they break apart, so that it’s possible
pulling is reaching too, and this
often when the world dies to put us to sleep,
loves us as it smiles,
as it tries to conceal its darkness from us,
the wind, never changing, wandering
across the same old soybean field
imitating hunger’s appetite for the invisible.
I’m walking this morning across Macdonell’s Field,
its trees scraped naked by the thin edges of sun,
and a hardened soil poised to feel
what I might break next. I’ll peer down
the old well the Mennonites dug,
see the watery coin of wish
anyone might have tossed in.
You’re walking too, the other way,
the wind raising you over the dirt
that, like me, will not get caught up in you again.
Still, these days I hope for the best.
Perhaps this morning your words
about reaching will be a simple pail,
that by bringing it up and out into the world,
it’ll echo in the ache of my arms,
and then in the cold, the hot chest.
And when I learned that I cannot swallow you whole,
that I could only chip you back
into pieces of stone
and feed this river with them,
I learned how you swim back up.
Usually, your eyes come first
settle into another’s face,
and gaze at me like a billboard
to remind me of the life I lack,
while the rest of what they carry
migrate to another — except for
a wave of hair, which in its backwards glance,
mistakes me for the man
who did not swallow you whole.
There is no name for that song.
There’s no strength that holds happiness.
There is no promised land of sadness.
The fields are gold with Fall,
they are silver with Winter.
The car is trailed with the dirt that led you here.
You note the windshield paintings
of your ancient figures, antelopes of ice melting into lakes,
arms of blue rivers white with the harvest of clouds.
There was some mission.
About the mystery, you had come to
an understanding. For instance,
the circling of geese forming wonder —
so why stay so long with them into winter?
Why not fade south with the others, like tears?
What was the sound that we made,
if not a cry?
December 26, 2018
Wilmont Township, ON, Canada
The floor’s scuffed
stricken as a cirrus sky.
Not a sound comes to me.
I miss the thunder.
I’m waiting for you,
the words for you.
I miss the lightning.
Rumination is made with a bell,
landing in me. Drizzle scarves
the shoulders. Dampness is not the opposite
of dust. Movement sticks to its illusion,
she said one night into the sound
of my name in her body. There are only steps, she said,
against the banks of things.
I make it back inside.
Shoes squelch the marble floor,
then plunge the hall. I move into the pulse of it,
up the dead river’s flow.
I can feel your heart in me, she said.
This rumination of a bell,
unpronounced in me.
So, it lands,
dampness sticking to
the shoulders, the back,
“She’s got great faith,”
I’d say, teasing her.
“things are meant to be.”
“some things never change.”
Or, like yesterday, it’s,
“Movement settles into its illusion,”
she said one night
inside the sound
of my name
from her body.
“There are only steps,” she says,
“against the banks of things.”
I make it inside,
Shoes squelch on the marble floor,
like some strange duck,
and rise up into the hall,
and then back to me.
I walk into it, dragging all I can,
up into the underground flow,
the dead river,
despite never understanding
who’s calling, either the rain,
or the bell,
or just some damn duck.