SHOULD HAVE SEEN YOU COMING
Should have seen you coming.
Should have pushed my heart out of the way
instead of just letting it lie there like a speed-bump
for a locomotive.
Seems just like yesterday
you saw the Klondike Gold Rush
in every nugget of raw ore
that washed down the mountain
nobody had ever been to the top of
to receive divine instructions.
You were panning for life among the asteroids.
I wasn’t someone you truly loved.
You just staked a claim in an avalanche.
You were the blossom of the moon.
And I was the leafless branch.
I wanted to fly
and you wanted to dance.
What about an aerial ballet?
I’ve seen killdeer do it in the spring.
You didn’t say a thing
but let your walking do the talking for you.
You were the have
and I was the have not
as the gap between the wealthy and the poor widened
like two continents
differentiating the split
into heretofore unknown species.
If the peduncle is lost in the ensuing phylum
maybe it’s taken asylum somewhere
its ancestors would never have guessed.
I was the pathfinder.
And you were a jest of razorblades
that cut trail like an artery.
I trusted the stars
but you preferred to consult your scars
like a map through the wilderness.
You always had to know where you were
before you went.
Like the Buddha said
you don’t need to know
the name of the archer
before you take the arrow out.
My heart was still flint knapping obsidian
when yours was into stealth technology.
I realized when I first met you
that there were many more dead civilizations between us
than had been dug up to date
to meet the eye.
I’d just discovered writing
and you were already speaking in tongues
like the Oxford English Dictionary
on top of the
as if you were the Esperanto of Babylon.
O but I wrote you some lovely odes didn’t I
that summer you took me water-skiing on Mars.
I was so in love with you then
I breathed you in like oxygen
returning to a lifeless atmosphere.
But you changed like a mood ring
in love with a chameleon
and long before the garden died
we were back to red air and purple sunsets.
Deimos and Phobos.
Fear and Terror.
I admit I was a hopeless romantic
enchanted with a lunar vision of life
I kept to myself like the dark side of a lunatic
but you liked to be followed around like a paranoid dealer
by shepherd moons you kept on a short leash
like pit bulls on meth.
I got around in a crown of thorns.
You liked to drive spikes into your collar
like the anti-Christ working for the C.P.R.
I was the Crow’s Nest.
And you were the Kicking Horse Pass.
You abandoned me at the
and took off like a train.
And there hasn’t been one by here since.
I’ve spent a lot of long lonely cold nights
listening to grizzlies talk about
starting a new life in the circus
but the view is as lovely
as any postcard you could ever hope to buy anywhere.
The wolves at night the moon the stars the shrieking eagles
and there’s something homey about an avalanche
when you look at it as a whole bunch of cornerstones.
And who could have guessed
that the talons and teeth of these jagged peaks
started out in life on the sea bottom of the Burgess Shale?
Makes me wonder sometimes
whether I’m an astronaut or a shipwreck.
it’s been a lot of light years
since my calendars stopped keeping track of their eclipses.
It’s been too long since I last risked
going down into the valley even at night
for fear of starting a mudslide
come like a gravedigger
after everybody’s gone
to finish filling in the vacancy
and I’m sure a lot has changed
since we lost touch.
Or maybe I haven’t missed as much
as you said I would afterall.
I like the solitude of these heights
and the unequivocal precipices
where the echoes go
like incomparable lovers
to commit suicide.
I like to watch the mountains
shepherd the clouds around
and the way the wildflowers
refuse to let you make keepsakes of them
you can take home.
They remind me of you.
and rooted in rock.
I still cling to my starmud
like a little bit of thin topsoil
that makes me feel grateful even for weeds.
Not much of a harvest
but it leaves me with enough seeds
to feed the birds occasionally on the coldest days.
And I imagine the
has been kinder to your alluvial deltas
than my polar ice caps could ever have been
and remembering how much
you like to be pampered like Cleopatra
I’m happy to hear
all those bubble baths you took in your tears
have finally turned into ostrich feathers and barges.
My life is still unruled paper
without any margins
I keep writing love letters on
like twenty-six words for snow in a blizzard.
I never address them to anyone anymore.
You never know who’s listening.
I tried writing one to myself the other day
but then I remembered
what happened to us
and had nothing to say.
I’ve tried hard to love myself
as my neighbour would
but the alchemy just isn’t there
and all I end up doing
is wasting a lot of gold on base metal.
I took a poll of petals once
and within a three percent margin of error either way
they all said I was unloveable.
And that was confirmed a few years later
by a local census
of rosaries and daisy-chains
and a long pearl necklace of migrating geese
that looked like a progression of partial eclipses
over a thousand phases of the moon
all flying south like scenic calendars
trying to escape the cold weather.
Even though I live up here
I still haven’t managed
a high enough opinion of myself
to stoop to love.