I Wish I'd Written This

The Forest

A cold stream,
a wooden cup.

There was no question
of where you would cross
or where you
would stop to drink.

And still I ask –
what brought
you to me?

The plain succour
of my axe cleaving
the distance?

The mischief of
new brome grass
at your knees?

The trees will count
all the years we’ve lived,
and then they will keep
on counting,

or fall down or be
felled, or burn
standing or in a stove,

the fire a
bright prayer
releasing carbon,
all the words uttered,

our first exhale
and our last.

There will be the things
we have chosen to dwell
upon, and the things
we have chosen
to forget, as well as
the pine needles,
caught in your hair,
our bodies cradled
in cacophonies
of wildflower and lichen.

But first there will be
intentions and mutability,
a study of light and clouds
through the treetops,
the subtle ways to give
ourselves completely.

The passing corvid, aware
of its reputation for intelligence,
will fly over,
clearing its throat.

-Clea Roberts



Where the Nisutlin grew shallow
and swift, we rested our

paddles on the gunwales,
only dipping them to steer.

We watched the riverbed,
the astonishing velocity

of the round, green boulders
passing beneath us,

and the red-backed spawners

slipping upstream through
the shadows cast by clouds.

And the kingfisher
we startled into flight, gliding

furtively from one sweeper to the next,,
while the small bruin raised its snout

in the air, and catching our scent,
turned back into the forest

as we drifted by
and around the bend.

Every night the wolves called
into the unreachable parts of us

and you laughed in your sleep.
It wasn’t your usual laugh –

it belonged to the woman
who walked naked into the river

each morning, right to the top of her thighs,
and sunk down, purposefully,

kneeling on the soft gravel to bathe, to see
every heartache suddenly flattened

and carried away on the river’s
sun-scalloped surface,

a driftwood fire
blazing on the shore.

Well. As I browse through Auguries, I want to give you each and every poem. They are that good. So we will stop for now, hoping you enjoyed this glimpse of the beauty of the northern landscape, that claims the hearts of those who live there.