Burning to say

You were lying on your side in our small clearing,
above the North Saskatchewan river
while the morning climbed above the branches,
riddled with plastic,
and higher up the traffic roared.

‘Suppose there’s love’ …is how you woke me from sleep.
And I said what the hell are you talking about?
How is that possible
when the cardboard beneath my blanket is wet?

You smile and say, the other day when we walked
beneath the High-level bridge,
did you see how spring was thinning the ice
at the river’s edge?

And did you feel the warmth of the wooden bench on the hill
across from the old McDougall church?
The bench warmed by a spring-splayed sun,
warm, as if God herself had been sitting there.

And did I mistake seeing you steel yourself
against a rising tide of tears,
when the young man at the mission, busy
in the middle of a baggage run, stopped and said your name?

And last night when the city lights
were again crowding out the stars, 
it was you who noticed the brilliance of Venus.

And now you’re burning to say something about the ways,
etched deep by time and habit,
we keep things distant.

But what, in this passing moment, do you say?
Not knowing the words.
Except to point out how these birds seem to be singing
louder than the traffic.


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