Earlier each day comes the light
and our appetite, the terror that we are,
shines darkly in every living thing.
The drought intensifies, its yammer
wilder, more dimensionless: no one
is listening and everything
is listened to: each keystroke, every flutter
in the grid. Our confected optimism and
our medicated sleep.
What is it that we have not seen
and think we can in this way see
—our innocence? the cartoon
of our harmlessness? how hard we tried?
Invisible, the benediction of the alders,
their sprightly shade.
In the shallows, thought
unfurls itself: dazed, sunburnt,
querulous. What does it want?
Fat. Sugar. The world’s neck
motionless beneath its foot. It wants
to understand. But everywhere
the glare of meaning’s absence.
Gunfire’s distant thud and clack.
The rain that never comes.
Jan Zwicky’s new collection of poetry, The Long Walk, will be published in the Oskana Series from University of Regina Press this fall. Her books of philosophy include Wisdom & Metaphor, Lyric Philosophy, and Alkibiades’ Love.