The day’s Scottish. Imperceptible
and far-seeing through coils of copra fog.
Slow mastodons scurry to clear the road
ahead, where brittle hazard lights dilute
paths I must go, or must not go, depends
on the zero-hour radiation
whiteness. Its static rage behind closed doors
crackles close in my ears with a tincture
of aqua fortis. My fifteenth winter.
First touched snow on a stratovolcano.
Then, to a city’s torch song, assembled
a wind-wall with ungloved hands, and winter
after winter I pass shuttered houses,
as lost as a sparrow in a mead hall,
flitting reconciled with lost, scarcely heard
though the lost contrails of childhood shine back
the sea. The sea-absolving light even
here I glimpse in gorges mute with ice floes
refracts the ambient blare of street plows,
now utterly gone. A furrowed mirage
solders in their wake Haudensaunees’ bones,
buried long too deep for memorial.
The road’s double bereavement remains blank.
Could this be that dark and last outliving
night I’ve wondered at since the first snow
flickered you have no place here and I stayed?
My mind circles hellebores in a ring
of soil, given a chance, I’d scatter
at doorsteps. Haphazard violence, perhaps.
Perhaps cure for madness. Commemorate
the unavailing, unbodied stranger,
against whom grates the snow’s flaking iron,
who nowhere can turn towards homecoming.