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?


Thursday evening the dogs run ahead
through the unraked cheeks of leaves. I’ve let things stay
and circle around too much. I’ve lost the air
for other things. The drive into the city for winter tires,
the tail-lights that need repair, the brakes
I’ve been riding too long.
I stand here at the door
a little while more, and let the dogs
feed scraps of barks into the breeze.
I suppose, to them, its seems alive, shuffling along,
casting out and resurrecting the dead. But dogs
shouldn’t dream. Night’s here, the week is ending.
In a few minutes, winter returns.


One feels nothing
when the first days of November
arrive to fill in the wind-scoured constellations of geese
or to carry away
the sour mounds of apricot,
October peeled away.
One wonders,
where do the deer sleep here,
in November,
wake, cut away
under the grey trance of sky
when the blind car unzips its haste down
the threadbare road revealing
crops of still life too ingrown for
decay and that crisscross beneath
the unspoken snow,
yet to make landfall.

The Rooftops


Is this how far gone I am,
that from this window,
vacant yards are small valleys, 
cold with snow on rooftops?
And where in them do I locate you,
speaking your language, made dumb here,
winter advancing out of the dullness
of the missing gulls,
highlands plunging and lustrous
as a newly slaughtered bird?

Winter Trapping

I just remembered the red fox
that showed up by the snowbank as we drove
to find a spot that night. It ran ahead in the net of headlights,
drew us out
into the unplowed road
until we listed, a tugboat, you said,
in whitecaps, trying
to push on.
I remembered you too,
that way we were together, your small body
ferrying mine,
and past the window,
empty houses on hills of snow,
a plow
rasping below, salting
streets, and
under your teeth, lament.

ph 11/1/17. Guelph, Mew Lake, Algonquin, Canada.

Blizzard in a Field

I shut my eyes, the whiteout’s
there. Lashes are fences,
openings that close.

Trees are brooms for snow.
Buoys of snow circumnavigate.
A streak of woods, a train.

This place is the missing you.
The passion of this field
is the emptiness of its light.

– ph, Sheffield, Wentworth, ON