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Pays de L’eau #5 by James Morehead

July 3, 2011

Pays de L’eau #5

by James Morehead

i walk for hours
                         it seems
i can't imagine how far a mile is
mouth too dry to complain


our campsite is barren rock
barely alive
trees clinging to small patches of soil
an island unsheltered
we lie back after supper on pure canadian shield
our stomachs full of potatoes cured meat and marshmallows
the darkness pinpointed by a thousand stars
stars freed from they city's blazing light
i follow satellites speeding
past arcs from meteor trails
and connect the dots of ancient figures
that bind bright stars to the north

in the darkness i imagine the space between stars
i feel the empty night silent around me
in every direction endless
alone on the barren rock


our canoes form a thin line
into a river's mouth
it swallows us in a tangle of branches
i sit in front
                   my father steers behind
guiding us through a twisted maze
avoiding traps
ducking under fallen trees
the river narrows
the forest hangs over us
turning the sunlight green and shadowed
i just read heart of darkness in school
i scan the shore for cannibals


we camp early
our last night
the sky is black with storm clouds
we pitch our tents in a steady blast of wind
we eat dinner quickly
                                  expecting rain
a tent flies from its anchor and we chase it
we wrap ourselves in plastic sheets
watching lightning
and a water wall approaching
we can't speak
the barrage of water deafening
we sit soaked
in a warm shower
rain drops as large as marbles

the water wall passes and dark clouds crumble
uncovering sunshine
                                  and sunset
we watch the storm's back
a rainbow trailing behind
its colours stretching from treetops to water's edge


dawn sun awakens
the lake calm
mist's lazy swirls
canoes slide through water
smooth polished glass
i try not to breathe
fearing it will shatter


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