Bronze furze on the broad flanks of Nose Hill puts me in mind of you
The way I see your ragged, shaggy beauty in pines and fir below.
iPod walk on a clear morning. Breeze braces my face,
Carries up the secondo in my personal concert.
Glenn Gould, Brahms, Intermezzo in A Minor,
Accompanied by tones of high, spiral keening
Notes of coyotes,
Which could almost be mistaken for a far-off siren
If you weren’t listening. But listen. Listen.
Clarity of air, of vibration, of sound
Clarity of intent.
My shoes crunch frost-stiff blades of grass
Kick an owl pellet: a whole mouse, minus the soft parts,
Heaved out in a furry, funerary lump.
How quickly it went for that mouse. Swooped up, swallowed whole, spit out.
I feel a pang, avert my eyes; that’s close. Too close.
Now Hank Williams sings, “Just trusting you was my great sin.”
Hank always aims for the heart.
But ‘great sin’? That’s harsh. Let’s say, ‘mistake’.
Below the silver river snakes past your neighbourhood.
It looks so small from here.
The wind picks up. Now there’s no shelter, no reprieve.
And I would leave, but stinging, paralyzing clarity
Roots me atop this lonesome hill.
A clarity which eluded me until this moment.
Not profound, perhaps, just this:
Not seeing you
Has been the only way I could ever see you clearly.
~ Lori Hahnel
Lori Hahnel is the author of a novel, Love Minus Zero (Oberon, 2008) and a story collection, Nothing Sacred, (Thistledown, 2009), which was shortlisted for an Alberta Literary Award. A new novel, After You’ve Gone, is forthcoming from Thistledown in Spring 2014. Her credits include CBC Radio, The Fiddlehead and Prairie Fire. She has served as writer-in-residence for Alberta Branch Canadian Authors Association and teaches creative writing at Mount Royal University and The Alexandra Writers Centre Society. She is serving as writer-in-residence for AWCS through the end of June of 2013.