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.
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.
Light is always years away,
so when it’s here, it’s gone,
like us, when we’re on 60, going 90,
your windowed reflection there
so that I see through your love,
the drink of you spilling from me
and taken by the winter molt of lakes,
like an all-in poker hand, winning you,
whole through the teeth of tamarack,
doing this, not touching,
encrusted in, like your spirit said it would,
in the eye pits of a moose,
taken down by wolves
on the first day we said
we knew it had to be Spring.
I carried you inside me,
frozen river carrier.
But I leave ice to bury
the current it will bury.
I leave pines to stand for me,
fly their ancient flags.
I will let stones be stones,
feel their hold release
their million birds of silence,
their shadows lain in snow.
and near night
to die and lay
for it, or
of each place,
to enter earth
to take us
there, the bird
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 is always years away,
so when it’s here, it’s not.
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.