Five Hundred Decibels

for the University of Alberta Experimental Farm

“It seems to me a cloud as luminous
and dense and smoothly polished as a diamond
struck by a ray of sun, enveloped us.”
– Dante, Il Paradiso, canto II, l 31-33

I died and went to heaven
is how I want to answer your sincere how are you.
Here’s the bouquet I brought back,
dry dill weed picked near a neighbour’s garbage bin,
spewing hoarfrost, a purple flower,
couldn’t resist, the last day of October
a mammoth birthday cake.

Heaven didn’t seem much different from home.
Streets, houses, lanes,
fat plumes of smoke on the horizon,
muted drone of bulldozers.
A girl of seven took me by the hand,
we climbed a fence.

Have you ever seen
a field smothered in lustre on a sunny morning,
each stalk of un-harvested wheat,
each quill-tipped kernel
a silver replica of itself,
as the wild oats, the crabgrass gone to seed.

Such brightness.
No angels, no hallelujahs,
just light, and five hundred decibels
of silence. Two geese winged in,
ceremoniously circled the field once,
settled in the north-west corner.

~ Anna Mioduchowska

Anna Mioduchowska: Born in Poland, Anna Mioduchowska has lived in Edmonton since early adolescence. She is a poet, translator, an author stories, essays and book reviews. Her work has appeared in anthologies, literary journals, in newspapers, on buses, and has been aired on the CBC Radio. In-Between Season, a poetry collection, was published by Rowan Books. Some Flowers Do Well in Flowerpots, a poetry chapbook, was published by em-press. Eyeing the Magpie a collection of poetry, and art, was published in 2007, in collaboration with Nancy Mackenzie, Rusti Lehay, Myrna Garanis and Julie Robinson.

Read more of Anna Mioduchowska’s poetry:
Islet Lake Trail
Blowing at the Sky
After the Storm, Banff National Park

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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