Distant Friend

This weekend at Corney Brook, in the Cape Breton Highlands, there was a man with a camera, camping. For two days, he appeared and disappeared. Whenever I saw him I thought of you. Last night in a dream, you stood up at the back of a crowded room and spoke. Your words were brief and perfect. It was nice to see you.

(for Jeff)


Monday Morning

Sitting on the edge of the bed, bare feet on hardwood. Sunlight on the dresser. As I get older my dreams are closer to the surface. Borders ill defined. Someone is still talking to me. Sort of.

I touch a finger to the pond surface and an amphibian suspended between sunlight and shadow swims toward it. A wonder I will take for granted and forget. Like other things that happen. The bullfrog watches, poised between lily and lotus leaves. Blank or all-knowing? Remembering perhaps. Germany 1982, my first backyard pond. We moved and I dug another. And another. Fed flies to the leopard frogs and they came to know me.

Keith Jarret showed up this weekend. I can still hear him. Piano music drifting between rooms while I do the dishes. The little sounds he makes while playing. I reach over, bang on the ceiling with a broomstick and an old friend replies.

I walked on the dam this morning with my daughter. Born in Germany, 1982. We talked about ancestors, altered surnames and how spelling wasn’t so important back then. “It’s an interesting conversation” she said. “Last night I dreamed that we were walking through a cemetery. You were pointing out names on headstones.”

We also talked about birdsong, how this place used to be ocean and about the first time she got stung by a bee.