Vixen

 

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Vixen

Meductic,
New Brunswick.

She climbs up from the head pond
a ripple of red and orange over the highway.

 As quick as a fox, they say:
black socks, brush winter-thick
held high and proud,
as quick as a shadow
melting into dark woods
on the highway’s far side.

She is followed by her cub
who is not quite as quick.
He is struck by a truck
and ground into the gravel.

 The fox-stink of memory
clings to my nostrils
like slow-motion death
dreamed at night
frame by bitter frame
.

 Now a night-time of silence
falls from the lips of fading lovers.

Raccoon

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Raccoon

Two footprints on the dew damp chair
show that he has been here.

We know he visits at night.
The cat wakes up, jumps off the bed,
leaps to the window, and hisses.
Then she falls silent.

The raccoon steals food from the feeder
and shuffles the pottery shards
we leave out to gather water for the birds.

We never see him.
Sometimes we hear him grunt;
occasionally the wind chimes rattle furiously
as if caught by a giant gust..

We peer into the dark,
turn on the outside lights,
but his absence greets us
like a long lost friend.

Last night, nothing:
this morning, an empty feeder,
those footmark in the dew on the chair:
we know he was there.

Footpaths

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Footpaths

Such a miracle:
the first steps of the cormorant’s flight
taken over water.

That first step heavy,
the second lighter,
and the third scarcely a paint brush
pocking the waves.

The need to take flight
lies deep within me.

“Journeyman,”
the Spanish poet wrote,
“there are no footpaths
across life’s sea,
just a wake to show
the way you came.”

Like a ship at sea
or a seabird over the waves
I leave white water in my wake
to show where I have been.

Sun and Moon 11

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Sun and Moon 11

nochebuena[1] – a star spreading crimson fire
girasol – bright mirror to his golden face
colibri – hovering on a whirr of wings

am I less than a flower or a bird?

if my fingers could grow feathers…
if my face could sprout petals and leaves…

hollow bones whistle a sad song
the sailor lost at sea
the wanderer asleep in foreign soil

both far from home

[1] Nochebuena / Poinsettia; girasol / sunflower; colibri / humming bird.

Sun and Moon 10

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Sun and Moon 10

Sun thrusts his fierce face
through night’s dark window
his voice booms out like a golden gong

“What have you done with my child?

curled and flaming his orange corona
head lucent with a coronet of radiance and fire
his eyes sweep night beneath day’s rug

New Moon pales and fades in a corner
Serpent escapes through a crack in the wall

 

Sun and Moon 4

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Sun and Moon 4

night without moon without stars
dark sand dropping
filling my mouth
I walk the lonely bed of a dried up river

when I stumble in my dream
my feet leave no footprints
colourless is my path
through shadow and sand

figures of darkness
conjured before me
hollow their eyes
their mouths black caverns
no flesh decks their bones

footless they sigh
a sibilant song
mindless they draw in
a net full of sorrows

silver fish darkling
losing their sparkle

 

 

Pony

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Pony

for Jude
(and the WYPOD)

“A pony, a pony, my kingdom for…” Of course,
he didn’t want a pony. He was losing the battle
and the kingdom’s sceptre is not a baby’s rattle
to be tossed aside, even for the fastest horse.

Ponies and palfreys are not for kings. A princess
may ride a pony, and a side saddle, fit for a queen,
may grace a horse’s back, but a horse between
a princess’ legs is crass. How cramped the dress,

how wrinkled the nobleman’s brow seeing
his daughter, his wife, the female of the breed
straddling, legs apart, a broad-backed steed.

No: ponies are for Christmas, not for kings fleeing.
A horse, then, hung with bells, covered in red:
not with ribbons, but the old king, flayed and dead.