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.

Summer Ends as a Woman Takes her Coffee Break

Like Autumn,
I will need to change
my life again. For this
woman, how she leans
on the black chair,
as if she had always been
a girl. The dry creek of
her back,
the naked feet, both have
waded here
together from a shallow river of sun.
And spearing through
her hair, a birthmark,
like a reflection
of an arrowhead,
the first
leaf bruised with cold,
but pale, as if
she had been painting,
in case winter
was coming again.


I could write a poem about my boots,
or the wool gloves I found
in the glove compartment from last winter.
Or, I could write about the extra blankets
from the closet, on the unmade bed,
or the cupboards where I hear mice
above the heat of the furnace
that climbs the strange frozen rivers in the window.
I could describe the broken moon
lighting nothing but the films of road
beneath the dislocated shoulders of trees.
I could add some lines about the cell phone tower
in the field, and the tiny light blinking on my phone,
and I could compare them to a plane,
or, this thought I’ve left unsaid. I could
talk about the words, and then my life.

– ph 15/12/16 (Jerseyville, Flamborough, Guelph)