Poems of the Week


The Wars

The edge of the woods,
pine silence underfoot,
light split into shafts by the clouds.
Across the field, the house.
On the kitchen table,

the wine is already open,
the thin white plates laid out—
I can see their extra cold color,
the rare lamb sliced thin,
its blood still blood.

I’ve been out in the woods again,
half kid, half elder. A kid because
I’m waiting for the knives
of their voices to grow dull
so I can slip past them unarmed,

and an elder because I know
I’ll never be weaponless again,
and soon I’ll have to stand there,
a forged child, a kid-elder, among all
the dead soldiers of their two small armies.


Nothing has a name it can’t
slip out of. The waterfall is solid ice
by late November; the white pines
vanish under snow that’s
blue in the morning, pink in the dusk.

Here’s a little bouquet—ice
and evergreen and sun, three moments
arranged for human looking,
Though it’s only the husks of their names
that I’ve gathered and paralyzed.

Walking Meditation

I’m the first tall animal
to walk the trail today.
Apologies to the spiders.

The sapling maple I cut
last year for a walking stick
forgives me this morning.

Galaxies of lichens
on the stones—what’s
my life to them?

What do the deer
make of my trail? Sometimes
they use it, sometimes they don’t.

The wind is a poor net.
The universe
swims right through it.

*All from The Snow Watcher, Ontario Review Press, 1998

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