from Hastings-Sunrise (Nightwood Editions, 2015)
Doesn’t take much to reclaim a corner
from Slurpee cups and cigarette butts.
A shortcut transformed into a mini-park
with a bench, a few flowering shrubs,
scraggly garden of cast-off
hostas, divided irises,
even the parts of myself
I cover up or reject.
Quick to anger, despair.
A friend’s letter reminds
It is your darkness that gives
you your shine.
Ten years on Vancouver Island.
I couldn’t bear one more Garry Oak cut
down for a Costco, one more mountainside
bulldozed into naked cul-de-sacs.
I returned to a city already ruined
and found people building
raised beds on boulevards, growing
roots, pushing back.
Penned on scrap cardboard,
Please don’t steal the plants.
from Night Gears (Wolsak and Wynn, 2010)
A southwesterly sends tumbleweeds
across the Cypress Hills. Dried
grass combed to a high sheen, rippled
and silver as shoals of darting minnows.
Tack into the wind, bear the push
against shoulders and legs,
thoughts red-winged blackbirds–
when approached, they fly off,
only to resettle farther on.
Look for deer all morning
and find none. Everywhere mud.
The smell of earth waking up–
wet newspaper and salt,
a girl’s first blood.
A jack rabbit startles
into cover. Two hours
of dodging gopher holes and garters and–
look up. Clouds skate past
like water striders. The mind
hollow, wind scoured.