A Gift of Island Poetry ft. Bren Simmers

It’s summer solstice
and a cool wind is carrying the smell of
lilacs and cut grass. I didn’t know I missed
the mating calls of lawnmowers, the off-key

roofer who belts out every radio chorus, the thwack
of screen doors, dogs barking, or traffic
like the hum of an oversize fridge. The world unfurling
after a great pause, while my fronds remain closed,
resting. I didn’t know that

I missed this close proximity to others.
On the anniversary of my dad’s
death, an eagle circled overhead. A gift,
like the Nâzim Hikmet on my shelf, cursorily read,
then let go. I didn’t know how to love

then, still don’t. Tending this patch of self.
Weeds growing as hard as they can.
Near the end, my father gave away all
his books, saying a library is meant to be read.
Hikmet said: The weight of living is heavier
than the thought of death. My dad’s ashes
weighed seven pounds. I didn’t know that

a cumulus cloud one-kilometre-long and tall
weighs as much as a herd of 100 elephants.
All those water particles held aloft by air.
I didn’t know that all this noticing
was love. Breathing in and out.
One day we’re here and the next, clouds.

—Bren Simmers

Bren Simmers is the author of five books, most recently, The Work (Gaspereau Press, 2024).