Under the Stars, What a Wonderful World

Your bark, Katsura, is the colour of barred owls, your circumference, its texture sine-waved as an owl’s flight through firred forests, supple-winged, rivering, the owl, folding, unfolding through a tangle-twig maze. Your trunk that scalloped, that muscled. I could take you to bed—kinky or comfort or all-night conversation. My sister’s daughter died in her sleep, mid-November, the season when the world disappears in bottomless sleep. In a hospital ward, not yet thirty-six. She could sing. Her voice, woodsmoke in morning. What a Wonderful World. She memorized every word. Her voice, over owing the depth of her wheelchair, ribbons a deep river still with us now.

ice like jackknives
ruts the cold winter streets
is this all there is?

This poem “Under the Stars, What a Wonderful World” originally appeared in Meanwhile, Home. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 232 (Spring 2017): 10.

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