You are the question to all my answers. I was an
echo without prior sound until you, silently, wrote,
“I am counting on my fingers to remember you.” If
only you had got my name right.
— Robert Kroetsch, Excerpts from the Real World
When I dug into my pocket for change, I hadn’t enough left to call you. I had already paid my bill, with exact change no less. I was attempting to show off by being precise. See what this has cost me.
I am working my way up, through the back. Last night I had a dream of kitchens. I had a dream of Myrna Kostash’s kitchen.
I wanted to find out what happened. What happened.
We are trapped amid boundaries of Canadian cities. Politicians are often like hummingbirds, and barely notice. We call this a failure to react. I am constructing a memory quilt out of love letters writ from the backs of your knees.
Your hand on my thigh as you drove. My left hand nestled the back of your head. I do not distinguish the plains from the mountains. I’d rather the plains.
I wrote a book on Alberta that turned into a love poem. I wrote an essay on Anne Carson that turned into a love poem. These are all that I write now. Is this a love poem.
Why so much of my words get themselves in the ways. I continue to speak despite troubling speech, circumventing desire.
You admit, how touch becomes so important. I am drawn to these leaves, these loose sheets in your folder left out on my writing desk.
On New Year’s Day I had Vietnamese noodle soup. I woke up to one of your hairpins. There is a cut on my right index finger. I am constantly in strange places.
You wouldn’t answer the phone. I am subject to great beauty. I submit. I would mention the snow. It falls hard in dark places.
I am in love with the way you move mountains, and plains. If there would be gods, you would be my new pantheon, twitching asleep on my shoulder. The earth moves for us, slowly.
Sometimes dreams occur to me in other languages. I still can’t speak. I have to remember the subtitles.
I heart out the roses and thorns. You heart out the blossoms. The sky tries to rain despite thirty below. You, once again, are a tiny blue island. I am sending out flares.
We are a country song. The first thing I noticed is the last I remember.
I am content through seasons. I am stuck on the riverbank. I am hard, like divinity.
What I would give, to be the pencil Bert Almon once loaned to Richard Brautigan to capture a poem. Now there, I’ll admit, is a story worth telling.