If you happen to live in another town,
Or country, or even galaxy
As dim and distant in time as in space
From these words, this language, the narrow
Range of pitch across its plosive phonemes,
Do not worry if you’ve never heard of me.
I only make things of quiet lies arranged
To describe the folding and unfolding
Wings and limbs continually attempt
In lust and flight and contemplation;
I have layered these in slow variations
One atop another for year after year.
Do not attempt to distinguish them, one from
Another: If you do, you may see the seams,
For instance, where I have placed marshes
Between the slopes of hills and the sea; you may
Peer, puzzled, at how I hold it together,
Pinned with the feet of blue herons in shallows.
You may only live down the street from me
And smile when we pass in the evening under
The soldering moon I use to fasten
All the crows to the harbour after sunset
And still not know my name, nor I yours, and yet
We both know the sound of gulls at turn of tide.
But I can tell you it doesn’t matter
Who we know. Or if these are my lies or yours.
What matters is the sound of separation:
An endless tearing like the night by stars
Turning in it, or the friction of feathers
Slowly pulled apart by gravity.
—John MacKenzie. Mumbling Jack, 2017 (mumblinjack.wordpress.com).
PEI poet laureate Deirdre Kessler selects a poem a month by an Island poet for readers of The Buzz.