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I am holding a chain whose links are embedded in a log. The log broke loose from a boom perhaps many years ago. It escaped the saw and now lies on the scrap of beach beside the Fraser River estuary. It’s a heavy chain. I can barely hold it while I gaze through its solid frame. The symbolism is obvious. Whenever I walk by the river, I think of how weighty our responsibility is towards the planet, how massive our loss if a day goes by without us thinking about what role we can play in the lessening of damage, doing something about it for the good. This is not to say that humans are more important than other species; that we are more than another speck of matter on earth. But it is to note that we seem to have the power to act for benefit or ill and to be conscious of ourselves doing so. That’s all. I can see the beauty in ruins. But I prefer forms of pristine respect. Perhaps it is no longer wholly possible. Such visions. Still, what do we lose by pretending it is, by imagining another way of inhabiting than disaster? In one of the poems from my manuscript Riven, I suggest there are no barriers, all affects all. And grief a process, not a conclusion.

A short line of ducks flying fast

 

 

                                    A short line of ducks flying fast

across the river like frenzied black protractors almost – every morning – makes

me weep – how hard everything

must work to survive us – they cannot land here – machines – or there –

coils of wire, rebar & even in the waters

their feet & feathers are likely to glow with a sheen of motor oil – nowhere

immune – this is the premise – &

nowhere divested of him either – though often it’s only what killed him that attends

me in my nightmares – tearing at my

flesh with its reminder – I got to him last – he’s my final groom not yours –

there’s only a fine membrane of a door

between worlds & nothing between us and nature – but we have designed

ourselves to create barriers, it is our

forte now- no ghosts & no ducks – flickering past our vision, flying over –