Away and Home

A September morning
dark on the bay
I wait for the sun,
wait for the Chinook

Enamel cup
black coffee
warms my hands
while the day is born

Golden orange glow
pushes over the peaks
colours dribble down
rocky crags
and forest’s edge

Red and green marker lights
roll in the swells
all of us waiting
to drop a line

Marking time
I light a cigar
take a deep drag
hold it,
close my eyes
exhale just as sun touches shore

Boat motor
sounds like the old John Deere
sunrise spreads
from horizon to horizon

Gull’s screech transforms
to a gopher’s chirp
the ocean is fall grain,
bow swells
bounces me
like a metal tractor seat
salt spray becomes prairie dust

Cigar finished
my eyes in the past
I open foil wrap
thick cut bread
last night’s roast beef
with butter, salt grains, pepper flecks
in that first bite,
my mother’s face
the taste of milk
and the cookies she’d pack

Then, without warning
in a loud voice
he says
“Let’s do some fishing.”

~ Andy Michaelson

Andy Michaelson: There are three sides to Andy the writer. There’s a poet, a promoter and an administrator. All three sides can barely contain themselves when writing, talking or promoting poetry. “I’ll try anything twice,” he says, “As long the activity advances the craft.” Andy recently received the St. Albert Mayor’s Award for Arts Promotion, sponsored by Alberta Culture and Community Spirit.

“Until I met my wife Carol never felt I belonged where I was. A place to eat or sleep in not a home. Feeling safe does not make a home. So it must be something about a comfort zone inside yourself that makes a home, a place in the brain where thoughts, discussion and decision are safe. A place where what is really important is seen, recognized and remembered; that is home.”

Read more of Andy Michaelson’s poetry:

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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