By the Campfire, You Tell Me You Are Dying

on mountains beyond rock lake
clouds tear themselves apart
while we huddle together
i cremate a photo
of us growing old          together

our paper arms curl around each other
emulsion smiles bubble
then burst in brilliant flame
our future          a spark that flew up
carried off by Alberta winds

the cackle of magpies
a cry halfway between laughing
and choking
haunts these lodge pole pines
their faraway cawing echoes          echoes

i’ve tumbled down a well at night
and swimming up through icy water
i see your celestial face
flickering orange and red
like mars          black birds circle          you
look down and my voice drowns

i stumble from the fire
to a clearing full of old horses’
skulls and bones
in a crazy circle

they grazed as shots rang out
dying more of surprise
than of cold lead

aspens tremble
i clasp the locket
protecting our pictures
inside         divided by glass
wilf and doug         heaven and earth

is this how it will be?
you and I          separate
like a prison visit
face to face
but never skin to skin

One thought on “By the Campfire, You Tell Me You Are Dying

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