A Prayer On The Tundra, Early Fall
for more time, yearns for a place to bury
Hunched against freezing winds, the earth’s own
beat slows, a drummer marking stillness.
Young birthed in the short summer sun
learn lichen, reindeer moss, grasshopper
and salmon, know these will nourish
the long sleeps, the treks across the plains
and across again. Falcons turn southward
ahead of the first deep freeze, calling
sandpiper, calling artic tern. The devoted
face north and say, stay. Always this leaving
and returning, as if forgetting were forgiveness.
My Mother’s Bones
My mother’s bones began crumbling
before she knew the words
that would describe the curve
of her bones. Somewhere the broad strokes of her life,
color bright on every canvas, bled reds
and blues and purples, began naming themselves
white, white, white.
I imagine my mother’s skeleton knowing
its own voice, communing
in the graveyards of coral reefs:
the dead zones of our birthplace.
I imagine mollusks white and naked,
their shells corroded, their seas too acidic
Calcium, the new gold.
My mother’s bones hold her, small and curled.
Does she dream of Turtle Bay, the jeweled
coral flashing morse code? Does she
smell the seawater in her own blood, does she
turn her ear to the palm of her hands
and whisper, listen, listen, listen?
Sandy Martin lives in BC on a small island in the Salish Sea between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. She shares her life with her husband, an everchanging number of dogs and two donkeys. She has worked in creative nonfiction, short stories and, her first love, poetry. Sandy is currently working on her first novel.
See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops, weekly online writing classes, and weekend retreats in, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.