I Pretend


(internet photo)
My tongue lolls
like a dog on a hot day.
It hangs out
day ’til night
to catch shooting stars
from our first date.

No clouds are too dark or too grey
to dampen the spark you ignited.
I stand in the rain.
Your scent washes from my hair,
so recently twisted through your fingers.

My squeaky-balloon shoes
squish along the sidewalk
each step one further from you.
If I had a rooster right now
I would make it wear these noisy shoes,
take away the annoyance of your departure.
Already your absence is a giant egg beside me.
The truth as much a surprise to me
as seeing a rooster wear shoes.

A quart-berry basket full of water
is easier to manage than your absence.
I would powder my nose with an ax
rather than be away from you.
I would eat plastic grapes, breathe fire,
drive a truck with a screwdriver
if it meant I would be back with you.

My mind has shrunk to the size of a pea
my body no longer exists.

I want to wash your feet, honor you
for blessing me with the gift of your love.
As each step takes me further from you
I walk like I have a tail between my legs.
I pretend it isn’t mine.
I pretend you are still with me.

Canyon Hike


(photo credit: Graeme Pole. Johnston Canyon)

We stepped with purpose, a marching band of old and young.
We dodge other hikers as we ascend the canyon.

Water rushes in bubbling, white torrents, foaming and splashing
as it forces its way through narrow gorge walls that squeeze
and open and narrow again.

Glacier blue liquid leaps and spins, pole vaulting over boulders,
hurdling fallen trees, and diving into swirling eddy pools.

The sun’s rays find their way into the canyon beaming heat onto
our backs and shoulders and the tops of our heads. Faces redden
and our pace slows.

A surge from the river skips over wooden boards, flying above the
rocky path. It startles flesh with a icy smack, then drops to thirsty ground.

We mount staircases built into cliff sides. We zigzag upward along wire
mesh catwalks that cling to the canyon walls.

At last we bask in the mist and spray of water cascading down the deep ravine.
We admire moonholes and caves, and smooth sensuous, curving stonework
sculpted by water

doing exactly what it is supposed to do.

We descend into hordes of people all wanting to see what we just saw. It feels
like we are on a broken escalator. Elbows and shoulders bump as we jostle and
scramble past each other.

At last we sit and lick soft ice cream in gentle circular strokes from
crunchy cones, as we savour the thrill of completing our hike.