Wednesday, February 15, 2012

G 11:4

The bigger the house the higher the heating bill
In an attic of Love they count their blessings
While a hundred floors down the gold furnace roars


Keep a promise to yourself
Or be a friend to no soul
Caulk one leak in the roof
Or consign it to holes


Nights without dawns
Save the rake of cold ash
For dusty red pearls
To coax toward suns

Starlessly dark
A moon out of sight
Weaves word of itself
On a hard loom of black

Alone—but a thought
Without light, without feel
Pressing on silence
Essence shifts

Turning is building
In soil’s rank give
In blindness so utter
Pale filaments shine

Monday, February 6, 2012


Found circa 1962, by my grandfather, in a furrow on his wheat farm outside Boharm, Saskatchewan. He mailed it to me in a small cardboard box, swaddled in layers of cotton batting. No writer usually (no time!), he took the time, the year before he died, to pen a story to his seven-year-old grandson, conjecturing about the Indian who might have shot a buffalo on the open plain, who knew how many hundreds or thousands of years before.

It was the treasure of my childhood, never more than an arm’s length from my bed, where I could retrieve and study it. A perfect arrowhead, with a gracile point, and a notched base so cleanly made it was impossible not to imagine it secured (by hide strips soaked and shrunk, I’d read somewhere) to the shaft. Strangely two-toned in colour: whitish as though frosted on top, but an almost translucent amber underneath.

Lost one day, it must be forty years ago. No warning or clue. Just gone. Both the arrowhead in its box and the note with the story under it. Missing it bitterly, I sensed the actions of the perfect thief, as perfect in his or her way as the arrowhead. The thief that, knowing what you value most, goes straight past your wallet or your passport to a faded cardboard box with yellowing cotton. An intimate thief. The secret thief.

Found the other day, as I was cleaning out my parents’ house prior to putting it up for sale. The tiny box, its cotton nest now beige, at the bottom of a bigger box at the rear of the lowest shelf in storage—the remotest corner of the house. Intact, the arrowhead, but with its tip snapped off along with one side of its base. Still no note.