Thursday, November 03, 2022

Field work


In Goose Bay, Labrador                         , the salt air

slant.                       This long      approaching chill 

of split infinities, October. Pandemic               months of inquiry,

as she researched                        sustainable agriculture,

tending                   low tunnels                       and degradable plastic mulch

; logged                             expanding yield: potato, turnip, green beans. Imagining

what could not be imagined: to extend                      each growing season.

A philosophy so difficult             it could only benefit.



In Goose Bay, Labrador                         , the salt air

brines                     on autumn’s shoulder.       This unpredictability

of climate, water               , the resilience

of a measure, stolen                               or                 this fear.

Her sudden death                       in that distant city; news relays 

traditions, held                            from the Pyrenees to Lincolnshire

, informing bees                of their master’s death: a knuckle’s rap 

on each hive, offering “Your mistress

is dead                              , but please don’t leave.”  



In Goose Bay, Labrador                        , the salt air

, thickens:     quick intake            , of unfamiliar words.

The clouds packed                                           with reflection

; a calligraphy of footpaths                               striate sandy plateau.


had to tell the bees. Her stock               of textbooks, cellphone               

, steel-toed boots. The spare room

in her mother’s house                            , that Rideau Terrace basement

where she’d hibernate,                                                the twinkle

in her father’s eye. To light                    her way. This mute measure       

of canaries              in the coal mine;               insect hopes.



In Goose Bay, Labrador                         , the salt air

bristles.                             A courtship 

of equal prayer. September sun, Albedo heat

, this thread             of snow. To caretake                   such a loss,
a final resting place

at Beechwood Cemetery. Among John Newlove, Tommy Douglas,

Archibald Lampman. This grove of trees. Her ashes, cooled

, contained                        and accompanied    , home

across the longest flight. How she                   further, provides

the soil, still                                 a comfort.


, for Danica Brockwell (1996-2022)



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