Maybe it went like this: at the confluence of the Whitemud
and the Blackmud, a blank spring light that sliced open
the snow, everything bare and desolate and dormant, and you
and me both out of joint, quarrelling.
Maybe you’d said
it would be an easy hike and it was hard, as soon as we’d crossed
the turquoise metal bridge scrubbed raw by seasons of cold—
mud, then slush, wet snow, slick ice, mud.
Bright spots—splashes of choke cherry and scarlet threads
of dogwood. A tiny nest woven with shreds of paper birch bark.
In the last hour we made a steep descent down a pitched tongue
of ice, grasping at roots and slender trunks at the path’s edge,
followed by a scramble up a lick of mud. Glimpse of an oxbow
on one side, the rushing creek below.
And maybe it was ugly
and beautiful, and there was still Havdala and a hockey game
to go. So at the end of the night of this very long day
before the day of my leaving, which is so hard, I cry
in the dark, thinking you’re asleep. And maybe you turn to me
and say, you’re exhausted, you need to sleep, I’ll hold you.
And then you sing Kol Dodi— I was asleep but my heart was awake.
The voice of my beloved knocks, saying, open to me
my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled.
My eyes filled with dew. I was drowned in sleep.
Kim Trainor, Otoliths, , #58, 2020.