Saturday, Waiting Outside the Recording Studio Barn

(Ryley, Alberta)

The trees lay a backing track against a lead shot sky;
just a slight buzzing, like breath blown through the teeth of a comb
and the periodic cracking of puddle ice.
There are mole songs, humming, running beneath the receding snow,
this year unnerving. Quieter.
The fire in our exhaust speeds the lazy thaw,
forces new hiding places as it radiates a half circle from the pipe.

This place knows it will be gone. Maybe not next year but soon.
It is the consequence of engaging in creative audacity
above veins of coal: 312 square kilometres of compressed darkness.
When the skin of this land turns inside out to expose ancient bones,
folksongs of the living, its gyroscope will bend, stop the spin because
land doesn’t bargain.
It knows current for beard trimmers, rotating tie racks, rice cookers
is the only currency.
Worry-free over the dumping of oxides,
green-sounding particulates
that seep deep into its music,
it simply plays the notes given.

~ Carol L. MacKay

Carol L. MacKay lives in Bawlf, AB. Her poems have appeared in The Fiddlehead, Antigonish Review, Prairie Journal, Lichen and in Threshold: An Anthology of Contemporary Writing from Alberta (U of A Press, 1999). Her poem collection “Othala” was shortlisted for the 2004 CBC Literary Awards. She also writes for children.

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