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