my willow sisters turn their dull grey backs when I am in this mood
when there’s no bench
no planted tree
no shadowed park where strangers’ children squabble
no corner table where my face
can empty into dreams
without offense

in Utrecht I say clematis climbs out of paving stones
to splash grey walls
and couples laugh in windows
inches from the swirl of bicycle bells

then go down and drink Dutch beer the willows sniff

your departure will not keep the moose
from browsing in our branches
or redpolls from celebrating the seeds
of an unexpected birch
the sacred text unfurling from its trunk
coyote studies everything
her nose tracks the grouse
hiding in the grass
fur feathers and leaves all shivering in some holy wind

you’ll come crawling back

some thing smokes out my heart
slides under the barbed wire fence
and disarms me
whispers of windowpanes
of boys on their bikes
arms outstretched and laughing
whooping down
the whole long recklessness into the valley

Questions and Answers

What inspired “bushed”?

I think it speaks for itself.

What poetic techniques did you use in “bushed”?


This poem “bushed” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 184 (Spring 2005): 44-45.

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