April 11/2013 for Chris of course
[& what’s amazing is that AFTER I wrote this poem I read these lines from Louise Cotnoir: “There, the dead travel under the birds’ breasts”]
The barge being pulled up the Fraser is heavy
With dead trees.
This what I see on your anniversary morning.
A common act, yes
But what happens next isn’t.
First on one wet length, a gull lands, then another,
White as pain or happiness or nothing,
Crows too, a few starlings, and before the tug draws
The sight past my seeing there is flight gathered there
Not death, all upon the limbs
That lie inert are birds, wings folded over loss
As if the barge being dragged up the river
Is now simply an island
And the birds are forgiving or angry or nothing
As they settle upon the stacks of trunks
And ride in beauty upon the waters.