i. bog child
the bog child walks through a glacial scar.
the trees in the kettle stand skeletal,
roots sinking slowly into the mire.
lichens encrust their branches,
growing in palimpsestic layers -
a collage of micro-ecosystems.
she crushes labrador tea between her fingers,
and cloudberry grown ripe on boreal perfume.
her toes grow stony and numb,
half-convinved by the pines to join them,
rooted in the soil.
a house peers over, across the hill -
a trailer home that shed its wheels.
the eaves are hung with garlands of hummingbird feeders,
dripping nectar onto the ground.
gazing globes germinating haphazardly.
the woman inside sings in a warbled language.
her wife is away, searching for underground lakes
with a rod of witch hazel.
she prunes the woody vines that slip inside along the edges of the windows.
one day this house will be a juniper tree.
ii. portal manifesto
a phosphorescent gash in the sky.
an opening in the ground, dripping smoke and out-of-place reflections.
the hinterland holds many doorways.
the weather station picks up static -
the friction of world brushing against each other,
sending shivers through antennae and the interweavings of clonal colonies.
the prism casts nameless colors on the ground.
mycelium leeches electricity from tape reels,
etching new memories into the plastic.
wires carry longing across endless distance.
strung up between totem poles, between the spines of angels,
unbounded by the edges of a universe.
everything is borderlands.
search for haven in the shimmer,
other heres and nows.
iii. juniper's season
juniper's season begins with the quieting storm.
her bog calls out through rime-drift,
frigid radio waves and static,
lichens quivering in the cold.
a deck of cards holds the fragments of a map.
i let the snow embrace my body,
listening to echoes skittering through the spaces between ice crystals.
poems and travelogues.
tunnels knotting through countless worlds,
shaped without reason.
the prism swallows up my edges.
iv. life in a glacial scar
fog drenches the riverbed,
lifting an island of solid ground into the void.
the mountains cannot be seen from here.
somewhere, leatherleaf quivers in the static.
the visitor leaves its mark in the peat,
sowing seeds for lichen and bog laurel,
casting refactions onto glass.
one of the gazing globes has fallen from its perch,
half-buried in the melting snow.
a glimmer of memory curls along the interior surface.
broken glasshouse, cathode ray, telephone cord.
the bed of pine needles absorbs all sound.
forgotten artifacts are strewn throughout the mud.
v. hinterland sister
the air sinks down like cold wine,
on corrupted fields of bittersweet and juniper.
the spires are vexed with chainlink.
i shatter my vines where no one can hear,
in the muddy heath behind the ridge.
my own is the temper of the quartz.
this is my time to the thought, my sense of turning.
i see you drift down the walk like waterlog.
you carry the staff of an errant shepard,
brittle and frail, cracked and hollow.
cold steam creeps up through the asphalt.
it beckons lightning and rain, but the river flies silent overhead.
my sister is lost somewhere deep in the hinterlands.
the sky there is heavy with memory,
gazing globes fractured and overgrown.
fenceposts splintered by wisteria.
she wears a blue shirt, embroidered with the constellation of her travel.
the crescent moon and the television set.
the goddess with the antlers and the goddess with the long arms,
angels lost in the thicket guided by plastic umbilical cords.
a rust dancer has visited the same place.
she waits in the glasshouse, with the mottled terracotta
and plants too wise to know their own names.
we are bounded by the same fissured edge.
i wait here for a weathered season
with the great grandchildren of sunflowers,
oil-bearing saplings and hands of verdigris.
i know there are bees in the hive because wooden boxes
don't sing like that on their own.
i wait for hesperia fields, the landmarks of a knotted path,
bracing my body against the stature of a wooden vessel.
pine needles litter the ground like matches.
the flowers of my garden are rugged and unsure,
miracles of faith of the sky in the soil.
they waver in and out of beauty.
vi. iterations of a path
the throne of low tide is turned to face the mud,
planted like wooden ribs. flotsam murmurs
across the bed of a thinning estuary.
the currents turn in counterpoint -
bowsprit and bulwark.
the path is haunted by our own conversations.
we find the walls a palimpsest of color.
the crumbling paint is a forum,
a battleground, an agora of dialogues spread across broken time.
we stand for a moment in the lapse of the sunlight.
we find ourselves surrounded by possible selves,
possible homes, shelter between the bricks and bowers -
travellers beheld by the specter on the opposite shore.
the river's edge defies our present, pulling us into timeless wanderings,
balanced tightly on the girders.
beetle-script is the tongue of these ruins.
the glasshouse is haven of mud, wounded watershed stitching rootlets.
i hope to find the things i lost far upstream.
a lull in the current is a fertile graveyard,
momentary resting place of weary travelling branches.
the sun dips low over western isles.
i move over poppyseed and dam drip,
the mossy furrows of a gorge.
the light is warm and humble.
vii. divided hills
the prism hangs over valley folds, void of omens,
swallowing space as water to ice.
light becomes color becomes pathways,
codices of symbols.
i gather dust of the town on the chasm's edge.
moss growing in glass bottles,
strange forms of lichen and radio antennae.
ramshackle bridges over unseen water.
something must have carved these gashes in the earth
so long ago. i think of those dreams
and i cannot remember if i really dreamed them at all.
the same february sky above -
heavy, swollen, undulating.
something casts a shadow on the clouds.
it moves slowly, imperceptibly,
existing only as an echo of its magnitude.
i glimpse the leviathan in my mind's eye -
towering and ancient, drifting glacially in some unseen current,
trailing entire ecosystems like colonies of barnacles,
forests of liverworts and lichen and kelp -
a tangle of living rhizome.