Northern Vision

I wipe steam off the cold mirror
surprised by the images.

Twigs of spruce
yellow spikes of pine candles
thin blue mushrooms
incandescent in the shadows.

As the sun goes down on the woods
its warmth spills away
like blood from a living thing.

I peer then, as one flashes
to far worlds in the moment of a dream,
I peer through a small window
to see the silver Arctic sea.

Thalassiophyllum—enormous fronds of seaweed
wash up languid and slippery on the shore
across bits of ice littering the stony beach
where the ochre bones of a deer lie
its torn hide stiff in the sun, legs splayed
twisted on the beach
the remembered scream of an animal
falling from the cliff.

Out into the vastness
I watch bedrock speckled in red,
piercing a green carpet of sphagnum moss.
I hear flies that buzz forever
buzz forever on endless summer days.

The image fades in the mirror
and I ache like a lover lamenting
pining to fly north.

~ Leslie Y. Dawson

Leslie Y. Dawson has been writing poetry and non-fiction for more than 25 years. She is widely published as a journalist and free-lance writer, with longstanding interests in community journalism, the environment, and medicine. She is currently working on a novel about life in Central Alberta, where it is now 33 degrees below zero. Ms. Dawson is desperate for Spring.

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