Cautious on ice, after supper I walk the town,
the sideroads slick, in some spots you have to
put your foot down flat like a block of wood
and move stiff-legged. I worry about a fall,
a broken hip, old bone that may not mend.
The moon knows I'm the only one about.
Dusted with snow, its light is feeble, just
enough to keep me going. It's early evening;
emptiness has found a way to show itself,
along the street the houses small and dark.
The moon's so tired of metaphor, it wants
no more of human longing.
Where there are trees, three in a row at least,
the ice has melted underfoot. The woody roots
electric, send out their heat.
Are trees what warm us, unbeknown,
when the world is hard and cold?
Alone on Main Street I lower my hood
and listen. Coyotes are talking to themselves
in the nearby hills, their calls joyous, obstreperous,
beautifully by us un-understood.
Once, twice, a truck goes past.
I raise my hand to wave but I can't see
if anyone is waving back.
From Small Mechanics (McClelland & Stewart 2011)