In Our Sights

life urban sprawls
lawns of chain-dog
days and barbecue nights

a mini-series ago
last-call ungulate
and hawk stalked
these driven cul-de-sacs

homes on the range
stripped and malled now,
Alberta’s natural history
a book scant shelves
below Myth and Lore

above hearths and fake
fireplaces there may as well
be the trophy hunter’s gun
mounted and pointing
towards back doors opened

to non-native species
christening patches of green
with bottled water or a beer,
all-weather radios Top-Tenning
the times

~ Ben Murray

Ben Murray’s debut collection What We’re Left With, was published in 2007 by Brindle & Glass. He was short listed for This Magazine’s 2008 Great Canadian Literary Hunt, competed in the 2009 CBC Alberta Poetry Face-Off, and has work forthcoming in Descant and CV2. Ben calls Edmonton home, the mountains close enough to call.

“Home to me ultimately means our planet, whose welcome mat we’ve soiled and sullied to the degree that the ‘welcome’ is barely visible anymore. Alternatively, home is where my cats graciously allow me to reside as their probationary border.”

Read more of Ben Murray’s poetry:
Elk Island Park Expedition, April 2004
Finders Keepers
Sharing the Stage

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

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