Cairn Street

Ripe with rot, the swollen smell of the compost heap
splits open the yard like an axe in dried wood. The clipped
flight of leaves, egg shells, grapefruit peels, the seeping
gold of the thing mixed. Behind the brick house, drafts

Run colder, beat the grass harder, swell with after-
noon drizzle. This corner of land holds cold
to its lips like a flute, breathing into a thin sound
until it grows too high to be heard. This land is keeled

Upwards to the sheen of stripped branches, blue mountains,
the petal-tailed first frost on the window panes
And fence-posts. The last corner to melt and warm.
The frost vanishes, the smell heats heavy, the remaining

Moments open up, keeps to itself the smell of daylight.
The raw division, the swollen joints of cradle, of clay.

This poem “Cairn Street” originally appeared in House, Home, Hospitality Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 237 (2019): 120.

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