And I see my Dad raising each large shutter on the front of the hunt camp to the roof of the awning, opening the dim windows to the light and air. He stretches his arms overhead and, as he’s a short man, grunts as he laces the hook into the eye that will hold the shutter in place.

I sat in the cold Toyota with him one day on the drive to school and scolded him for hunting. Why do you need to hunt, why do you need to kill animals? He presses forward on the steering wheel and says he does it to connect with nature, to sit quietly in the forest, to hang out with his buddies. I think it’s stupid and hop out of the car into the slush and say bye and head into school.

Now I watch him load the wood-burning stove, turn on the propane tank, lift the shutters. He shows me where the tea is, the water for washing and the water for drinking. I ask him about the smashed bottles on the slab of rock the camp sits on, he insists they’re from the old farmers long ago, that more chips appear every year. I think to myself that the old farmers didn’t drink Coors Light.

Here, he is in a constant state of unpacking and unraveling. A constant state of repairing, of folding up. He says sit and be comfortable, breathe and listen. Stand up, awaken.

I dream on the bunk that this place is filled with a sweet exhaustion, with a cedar smoke, with a eucalyptus steam. I dream the walls are made of canvas and rock. I step out into the night and feel like a twisted bandage has ripped off my skin. I stand new and pink in the mist, under the stars like splinters of glass, blended into the layers of pine. I stretch like a point into the painted sky.

This is a place that is not yours but is composed of you. You slip between the grooves in the rock, between the needles on the branch, between the layers of fog and you breathe there. You collapse into particles and sink into the dirt, around the pebbles and roots, and you rest there.

Dad stretches up to unlace the hook from the eye on the shutter. Back in the car and you are awake.

Your breath is with you, your body evaporated. You and all the things of you are spread and swallowed, are soaked. As you drive home, you reach behind and press your fingertips to glass.




Let loose an exhale like a printer turning on
a mechanical spinning

Those moans above me like you remembered something
you had forgotten to do
a mournful groan
a defeated beat

Your skin is a graph, a map of incremental pattern
underneath, your blood is a rushing warmth
a tingling buzzing of no word
of laughter

I am the buttons on a keyboard
transmitting nonsense misunderstood
but I receive your pixels and feel
the rushing of your blood
the pulse of your brain
        the stretching of your skin



Moment on a New September Day

Excited grad students in a class of twelve
reconvene on break
trying to politely talk with mouths full
nodding emphatically 



Too Much Wordsworth

The yellow trees that turn and jut from between the townhouses
from between the tarped swimming pools and overcoats
and long boots

Driving in Southern Ontario to the artists' studios 
Pack up, inhale the creative moisture at each stop
release it on the road
take some photos 
Hold the nephew's hand as we navigate the pioneer village
"Are you sure you're warm enough?"
"Let's have some cedar tea."
"I used to come here when I was little, too."

What strikes the tired eye 
is now the 
Working on Thanksgiving Weekend
    we'll tour the studios next year
and the gift shop at the museum
is kind of racist
    Aboriginal trinkets made in China

But as I stand here with you at our apartment window,
as the leaves make their mess on the parallel streets, 
You tell me about this one nice time
you caught a leaf and made a wish

"You know, you can make tea out of cedar"


Thrown off the horse, laughing

Burnt the applecrisp
that was made from burnt applesauce

an enthusiastic failure




Driving at high speeds
rain drops as tears on the windshield
Suck in and breathe the question
The tar has scorched the field
Townhouses emerge like burning pustules
rising and rushing to the surface
and the thousands are stacked upon thousands
Can the blurring faces in Union Station really be compared
to the petals on a long, black bough

The sprinklers spin to green the grass
while the weeds are thrashed
like a long woman getting a manicure
and mulch is bought to match the spindles
of weak trees that line the street
Children play without knowing to ask about the secret
without lying in the forest
under the green cave
wondering if the trees and leaves and birds can talk

Perhaps they do
Perhaps the highways are palmistry stretched across land
waiting to be read
Perhaps the sloping farmer's field is not a conquered space
just a necessary one
and we are begged to watch and love
the swelling



How many legs means one?

I met him on a boat
with a vest on
that curled up underneath my chin
like I was drowning in plastic
He had grey crinkled hair and
his skin was smooth from the salt air
he glowed as bright as child
He told me I was born to die at sea
Smiling, reassuringly
He said it was just like being encased in crystal, if I would let it be

When he was gone, I looked up at my Dad and told him
I was born to die at sea
and he of course said, “Don’t think of such things”
But every time I crunch along the coastline
the painted wood slats and the constantly opening and unfurling
the salt air that kills and refreshes
my skin starts to peel
and my lungs ache as they die and are reborn again
What I find so lovely and disturbing are
The molecules in the ocean
The legs that search along the shore
Each chaotic moment 
I was born to die at sea




Wrapping green around a wooden house
a warping pool of there, of home
She glares up at me with hollow cheeks
full of beauty and earth
were were filled and are now empty
cavities left bare
She haunts me, is always behind me
her voice is fog over rippled water, cool and dark as glass
her cadences are the roots of trees, are veins under bark
are the ejaculations of leaves, spouting from solid limbs
She speaks for my organs, my blood and bile
bringing all my liquids to the surface, pooling under my skin
I wish I could breathe like her
She asked me to write a poem

Love it when they sink to their knees in front of me
                on the jagged pavement in pools of streetwater
They drown
                Love is when they sink to the bottom

She painted it in black on the wall of our apartment. Full of beauty and earth. 
emptied of outside, of pressure
I wish she would descend
like a cloud, like vapour
full of massacre and play




A neck in arm, elongated, reaching past the ear while the
body curved, a gaping hole to resonate your chord
frets to play along the chakras, to set them into line while the
strings you pluck to bounce your notes that
reverberate along the ribs and back

A bridge to hold a harmony to lead from verse to twine, as you twist and
tune from memory
a duet turns requiem, a symphony, a 



A cruise liner sinks

The captain
A horror house of plastic molded faces

  in bright pastel colours, melting

As they squirm and fill the vessel

from room to room they're watching television, applying mascara

sweeping their rubber jewelery off the dresser, a splatter of objects
       frantically having sex with strangers 
    but don't lose your shoes 

The drooping faces are swirling sucked into the sea, flushed, refuse

Some made the lifeboats, no room for children what with 
                           and bags 
                                                                        and bundles 

John Andrew lost his horse

                                            There is no room for children
                     when the captain is the first to jump



En Route

the way exhaust smoke hangs in winter air
Last year of undergrad
and all I can think of is the school bus puttering to my stop
The wretched smell of children, ages 3 to 14
plastic seats with holes burnt into them
I was nauseated then
as I'm nauseated now
walking to the last exam
Examining these
like carefully feeling the contours of a blister
without letting it pop



Tell Us

This is what it looks like
poised and perfect
don't breathe hold your breath

A silent doe bleeds in the ditch
tail still quivering 
a mournful tune in white 

Mom says this
Dad says this
Porn shows this
"Just lie there until he's done"
You're not to like it
You're not to talk about it

This is supposed to disgust you
this is disgusting
Copyright © a contemplation (Emily Jones) 2013. All rights reserved.