McDonnell’s Well

As we travel in its direction
we are carried for awhile
by stray things
we collect of each other.
This is how I’m reminded
about the togetherness of lost things,
that they resemble each other,
pulling being an expression of reach,
sleep an anchor for darkness
lowered into the sky
at the bottom of a well.
I don’t know if either of us gets there,
the one the Mennonites dug,
but maybe we are simple pail
tugged out from the earth,
each grasp we make
brimming in the other.

McDonnell’s Fields

I’m reminded about the togetherness of things
in the way things resemble each other,
breaking apart, so that it’s possible pulling
is in the reaching,
and this often when the world persuades
us to sleep, conceals its darkness traversing
the wind in this old soybean field
that sews its dress for the invisible
to dance in.

I’m reminded,
walking this morning across McDonnell’s Field,
of trees etched naked by thin edges of sun,
calloused soil poised to feel
what I might break next. I’m peering down
the old well the Mennonites dug,
the watery coin of wish
undifferentiated between being dropped,
tossed away.

You’re walking too, the other way,
the wind climbing over dirt
that, like me, will not get caught in you again,
as I get caught up, hoping for the best.
Perhaps this morning your words
will be a simple pail I tug from the earth,
each grasp bringing ache into my arms.

Winterless

I am fifty this year,
after Christmas, the late buds
assemble their small hooves
in the wind of the dead season.
The Mennonites with their black horses do not walk
out into the uncovered fields,
or step over their roots tarred in muddy flesh.
We cannot love whom we must,
yet cannot imagine another;
the earth is wrong for this place.

Work Horses Seen from a Road in December

The horses seem to be blackened grain in grainless fields.
Perhaps their watered eyes have frozen this world to stone,
the whites having seen to it that it blinks with snow.
I assume they know they cannot plow forever,
cannot continue to turn over sky matted with foreshadowing.
They must expect eventually it will overtake them,
outgrow their fields, see birds defect through contrails,
or, rather, fence lines withering under a lifeless winter sun,
not blinding but as it probes our night,
reveals the braille of what we are not able to see.
I stare at these second-sighted beasts,
groomed in weather’s imminence. Is truth beauty,
is it in their knowledge that this world will melt,
and though there will be no new world,
this is the one always leaving?

Yellow hair

This morning I heard from you.
I watched the window, wind possess
the bodies of trees,
comb the yellow hair of stripped cornfields.
I opened every window to let it come
and steal what it could,
rub out the things inside.
It’s evening now, and the cold the day’s left
sleeps in the chair beside me.
It breathes quietly as I write.
We never see ghosts, we only feel them.

This is How it Looks When it Looks Like This

From the window, the dogs are barking,
at nothing, really, not a woman crossing the road,
or an animal, a fox, say, that comes in from the fields
by the highway, that sometimes sleeps in the shed
(the mutts always smell it),
with the machinery.

I look a little too long, there’s less and less.
Except for the overgrowth sharpening into
spools of wire and foothold traps,
the cornstalks gutted on the plains,
the cellphone tower possessed by voices,
and the street lamps where each night
crowns of light are crucified, I regard only
their instructions for departures.

So, if I could bark with them, that is what
I would start to see, what I don’t,
runways where things go where they go.
And, I would hope, too,
I’d find a way to chase away the fox
that sneaks back nearly every night,
that’s there, camouflaged by
the invisibility of things that will not expect
to be found.

Reaching

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.

For Instance, the Geese

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

Wish

The wind plays
at being startled by my presence,
and rakes my body for wishes
my eyes have made, the silver cravings of
two coins. It is falling head
over heals to carry you over dirt,
follows as I walk across Macdonell’s Field
until peering into the Mennonite well,
I see into the neck of the heavenly earth,
and the bare brown trees circling
our extinct sun. And in each step, the ground waits
to feel what it must give into next.
What if a word could breathe on its own,
or swim in a pail which we would draw up,
and shining, coldly, let us drink from it?