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Wolf Between the Trees

George Bowering
From:   : Blonds on Bikes. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1997.


His wife, his wife,
his daughter, his daughter,
his granddaughter, her brother,
knelt in a circle
in huckleberry woods,
digging with fingers, under pine needles,
a small hole in which to place
smoking sweetgrass, optic moisture,
& by the grandson, his grandfather's ashes,
gray Douglas Woolf, fine at last,
poured from expensive plastic bag
removed from official metal box,
taken from out a brown grocery bag,
his usual appertenance.

      .

Fifty steps from here
he wrote accurate prose
in his favourite ramshackle cabin,

juncos rescued from the cat & buried
under bushes, small daughters
didnt know what they were
rehearsing, now

his favourite knitted cap
has a rock in it, thrown
far as can be into the woods

as they call them back in New England
where few people came
to know he was from, gone
back there as well as here, wouldnt
you say?

      .

Now the women have a picnic,
sitting close as they can to the wolf in the woods,
huckleberry cider, jack cheese, bean & chile spread,
nothing from Europe, songs from mountain folk,
holed up in dark city, sitting firm
on clear prose, tears in all their eyes,
smiles on their faces, smoke from the sweetgrass,
no airliners in the sky, no
mote in that eye.

Below Nine Mile Creek, in Wallace,
Idaho it is 99 degrees. An old man in a see-through hat
leaned on the wall outside a bar.

I said when does it warm up? He replied
moving nothing but his toothpick,
wait till next winter.

      .

Doug will be up there next winter,
no romance, no spooks, meaning
no, he will not be writing a story, that is
over. If you want to visit, use your fingers,
open a book,
dig.



George Bowering's works copyright © to the author.


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