I end this story before it begins.
But I can tell you it’s about a nature walk–
my solo hike across the Canadian Shield
far down roads where nobody knows me.
I come across a man
on the side of a trail
looking at maples.
of amber and crimson
like a cauldron of magic.
He shows me a sapling
half-broken by the wind.
I wonder out loud
about its past and future.
Will it still grow into a tree?
He tells me none of that matters.
What matters is the cool touch
of wind through its leaves
My daughter wears my DNA like a casualty,
drifts through conversations with melodic logic.
When she speaks in the language of my ancestors
I know she’s caught something with her mind –
a dinosaur or the swamp root of a poem.
Her centre is her own.
Sometimes she huddles on the beach like driftwood,
golden gaps of sunshine in her silhouette
as if her body has bullet holes
and I can see the brightness of her soul.
Blue-skinned, she seems, breathing slow and low,
drawing narwhals in the air or covering her ears.
She tells me in a voice of…
Poet. Lake lover.