Learning to Unfurl

Every time she breathes
the muscle hisses, a sharpness
of tissue refusing its shape. No
position is comfortable, all
hold the weight pressing
her shoulder onto
the bed. Still
she lies there, counting
on her breath to draw her
into the present, fluttering up
to the ceiling then down
as thoughts float past
unattached. Or so
the theory goes. But she
likes theory, can carry
it with her on the bus, use it
to close her mind’s anxious eye
against the crowd and feel her toes.

Glass Balloons

I journey to nameless shores to wrestle glass balloons from other women. We eat potato salad and meaty gooseneck barnacles that slip out like socks from boots. We tease each other about love and lust and drink black coffee from steel thermoses. Along the beach there is sand, driftwood, grass, a spine of rock, snakes of kelp. Beyond that there is the ocean, the wind, the firmament, and the circular current of our prized balloons.

Seagull

I am standing in the middle of the ragged highway that passes my home when a wildlife officer offers me a seagull egg sandwich. The road winds its way northeast from Yellowknife for seventy-five kilometres, then just ends. If you don’t heed the giant stop sign, you’ll drive into a river that parts the sub-Arctic forest in all its stunted, natural glory.

Deciding to Wear an Enormous Hat

At first the idea of the hat might have been a cover-up,
a need to move through the world without being seen.

But down deep, I know that wanting led to it
and not the other way around.
The hat became a strange kind of mask, like some feathered piece, a
shaman’s tool,
a frontispiece for a new beginning.
It held me in place, a marker, a divot for the spirit.
The idea of it wilder, greater than the actual hat could ever be.

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