(all photos taken in Kananaskis, near King Creek canyon / Iyarhe na kiska (Goat Mountain)
& Marl Lake, for the loon, June 2009)
when my father sleeps
when my father sleeps, he dreams
of the loon’s vertiginous whooping,
the strength of bones so unhollow:
envies that solid skeleton, a watery
gravity pulling it close to the earth
as he searches in the swirls of clay, ready
to remake a world. when he sleeps
he dreams he is rich like the marl
in the fens, made of sweet grey milk
to feed emptied bones, karst-ridden;
he doesn’t know where the waters go
when they disappear beneath him,
into the cerebrum of unknown crust.
when my father sleeps, he is deep
below the earth, watching fossils calcify,
haunted by the pressure of the core.
with each mottled fragment, he marvels
at the sightless molecular migration,
minerals gathering together, unifying
those million mayfly lifetimes. when
my father dreams, it’s all equal:
everything so swift to a rock.
nothing is briefer, more sudden,
more painful on the surface. the loon
dives, no one lingers more than another.
we all sleep early, sleep young.