The Incomprehensible Night

Orion borealis, the cryptic turning of the night.

We ride together on the backs of swans in the

summer lake, our black cathedral of Jack Pines

and spruce, rising up like teeth, closing in and

blotting out the sky, for just a moment, and

there is fire in the dark, a thousand tiny lanterns,

pulsing, in and out, below those other distant

sparks, and we are floating like a pair of

willow leaves, curled at the edges of ourselves,

and I am red and you are yellow, until the

trees fall back again and the galaxy is open

and we are silver-blue in the glow of a moon

that is full and spectacular.

Where are the swans? Where are the willows?

It is you who’s talking, in that strange lake-echo

that sounds metallic and flat, as if you’re

everywhere at once but nowhere really, you’re

still a child, out on the lake, and I can hear you

dripping water onto the wooden platform that’s

moored to the bottom with a chain hooked

to the engine block of an old car sunk, they say,

when it crashed through the ice on some January

joy-ride in the after the war of our grandfathers.

I can hear you dripping, I can hear the drumming,

of your feet, of your heart, on the floating dock,

the slap, slap, slap of little feet, you must be

shivering, I think, but I am not there to see the

gooseflesh that I love, on your arms, on your

thighs, I’m standing on the bottom, I’m staring

up at the slanted chain that trails tendrils of

emerald moss, I see the dark square shadow

of the platform, I see the big August moon,

I see the sunken Buick, an impossible hippopotamus,

I see your hair.

The sky above is shimmering, I see the stars,

or are they just the fireflies? Something.

Something’s swirling above us all. More than

just miraculous, the incomprehensible night.

o O o

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