The farm girl's ripped her dress off again.
It soaks up puddle silt where she's playing.
Yellow boots ring loose 'round her shins,
specks of mud spatter
her blonde, her bare body.
Cattle low through a summer's thunder
and Mom's out to chase her.
Mice eat crumbs she leaves trailing.
She lops dead ones through the fence.
Dogs check for cougars on fiddleheads,
minnows like shadow in the face of her reflection.
Gravel calluses her heels, so she piles rocks.
From the big window a field shifts in the wind
green to green to light
like the pictures she's seen of the ocean.
A calf's birth, berry buckets, the grasses razed.
A raven lays eggs
in a nest of lost ribbons.
The snow-bee's arrested death-whirr:
one fettered wing fixed in a web
while it reels toward life
in the shed house.
The old spider held to its smoke,
straw-light and brittle anyway—
stunting flight needlessly
as the air will too soon.
Sleeping on the Verge of a River
for Al Purdy
A sound ran down the roof
maybe a pinecone
from a windless tree
or a lost cat,
a summertime kid throwing a ball
up and out of sight, surprised each time
by the arm of its return.
Outside in her white slip, flashlight,
me in underwear with a knife in my hand.
She went out first, so what does that say?
We saw nothing,
and in sleep I dreamt
I let you end your life on a riverbank
because you swam us to the point.
and followed your suicide to the seaside.
When I woke I knew
it had been the poem of your sick mother
rolling down my roof in the dark.
Vincent Pagé’s work has appeared in Flash, The Smokelong Quarterly, EVENT, and FREEFALL. He lives and writes in Canada.