Swim in the oily water.
Part the reeds,
try to get back home.
Cloying fibrous morass.
Part the reeds,
Land across the water.
The time, having flown with you,
There is nothing new here.
Sound out the words at the
Give way to grasses
Hold onto the land
The seeds of your ancestors
Look for signs of change to come.
At the trestle bridge, turn right.
Walk past what remains of
the concrete foundation.
The old sawmill.
1912. Stump-surrounded. Ghost of trees.
When you come to the fork, do not
take the left
(This is an old trail.)
Abandoned now. Unmarked.
It leads you
As you pass a large burnt tree
(struck by lightning; a lesson), follow
You will come to an old creek bed. The water
Diverted far upstream.
Feeding the outcrop
of hillside houses
and their infinity pools.
Be cautious when you reach the summit.
The rocks are loose.
The ravens cunning.
They will watch you take in the view, then take your lunch,
Your glasses, your keys.
They will remind you that this place is theirs,
And, while you look out across the city you call yours,
they will quietly remove all your markers home.
I am reconciled to you
A nostalgia for a there that never was.
“You’re in denial,” you say.
I let the joke splash into the space between here and there,
Try not to make the heaviness light.
“You don’t have to leave to make this home,” you say,
And I know it is true, because this is not home.
But I do not say as much. Not to you. Not this time.
Instead, I tell you,
“Sometimes I have to look at what I have from afar
To make it seem like it is there at all.”
You nod and smile and hold my hand loosely, like always.
I wish myself far, far away from you, so I can come back one day
Confident that I can let you go.
A home built on time and distance.
Its architecture beautifully flawed.
Use black ink only.
Sign inside the lines.
Entry to Canada.
May 2nd 2010 – Ca, AI, PE Trudeau.
July 2st 2010 – 1836 Pacific Highway.
Flagpole, follow the painted footprints.
Stand in line with the cars. Stamp. Smile.
July 14th 2011 – 1836 Pacific Highway.
Don’t smile. White background.
Sit in the car, drive around, flagpole.
September 7th 2012 – 1836 Pacific Highway
Don’t smile. Grey background.
Jan 25th 2015 – Use black ink only.
Sign inside the lines. Wait.
“It’ll come to grief,” the man said,
“You mark my words.
I know about such things.”
His mouth closed, a hard carved pebble.
His eyes dipped, pools of pain half in the shadow of age.
“All here before you arrived.
Before you decided to leave.
You’re not all that you know.
You just wait.
“The second your feet get wet
You’ll peel right back home,” he said,
Not knowing I had already pared down home to a smile