arctic terns migrate 12,000 miles between arctic and Antarctic summers
arctic terns returning, we were outside, they were early, had come so far. spine of light on the skyline diagonal. circumpolar knowing: you can still see an entrance, water you have left. design routes from the pace of rain, wind speed. for the first time something breaking.
which direction is north, provisionally. after so long, expanse without buildings: midnight, glacial. said: how does he deal with grief. if you soak a cracked plate in milk overnight. keeps busy and TV.
lived at the edge then traveled in angles. entered from south-west, left at a juncture. we drove toward the mountains with no visibility. rewrite motion, re-location. canal-like, geese streaming south block the sun. this is fiction.
describe your city: ceramic, pale. drain-grates in drizzle. pines in the tide zone, not flooded: rooted in water. we move from room to room in the split-level, upstairs, down. there is a ledge. you can go back anytime. this is bread, tea. this is personal.
if the ice starts cracking, lie horizontal
lie down quickly / with care
what is latent, what hovers:
I will describe it, it was evening
we sat in the room of curtains / held
ice gentle as glass in mouth
if the grass starts icing
if the room starts weighing / humming
if the quiet
when we say ice, do we mean
on the rocks (tonic, olive)
or compressed snow
do we mean lake
or slow-forming glacier, its
when we say salt
roads are grey with salt, not ice
rock is grey of slate and light
roads are wet where slate and salt
roads sea salt wracked, lack light
rock salt, driving sleet, concrete
erratic ridges on ice, unfit for skating
the morning after wind
unraveled, kept unraveling
impossible not to squint
it is midnight (so it seems)
not all the words can be retrieved
this is one version:
a flock of small dark birds at the edge of the pond curved into themselves
this is another:
we veered / we corresponded / the translation
is blindingly bright
is working on a PhD on modernist poetics and co-coordinates a reading series, “participatory discrepancies,” at the University of British Columbia. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Tinfish, 42opus.com, convolvulus, and Bellingham Review.