Uht-Sang

by David Gravender

Dead slumber after three days driving
sullen midsummer interstates
Toronto to Bellingham; a makeshift bed
of sofa cushions, balled jacket for a pillow.
Too tired to be nervous, facing change
and a new horizon.
Four a.m. A finger
of chill like the cold off bare iron
slipping beneath blanket and damp T-shirt;
my gut yawning sickly.
Imperceptibly
through fogs of blood and skin, cotton-
mouthed, webby-headed, I begin
to waken: unsteady focus, gray light,
the room disjointed, unsettled.
I can almost see
the spirits of the lost – slain or ignored – thought
to roam this hour of in-betweenness,
disturbing the dew on thorn and broom,
drawn always to one spot, one time,
ever anxious, unquiet. What can I do,
who will I be?
Slowly light blooms outdoors, in,
prints the white carpet. The walls settle back,
the ceiling rises.
A breeze, warm and damp, fragrant
with sea-salt, pine, and lilac,
breathes through the half-closed pane;
mind floating, my body lies limp, like one released,
who might begin to suspect himself
unfamiliar, possible,
a presence
still waiting to be discovered, to be welcomed in:
as when, that June morning on Cape Spear,
dense Atlantic fog holding the sun at bay,
a fox, gaunt and ragged-brushed, ventured
from the tall, wind-beat scrub, so close
an outstretched hand could feel the warm
quick exhalation of his breath, before
he fled into the grass and mist,
toward the cliffs
where we came suddenly, brought up short,
as wrapped in haze and silence, pink and yellow
in the sun now breaking though, an iceberg
real as spirit, fathomless, hovered offshore
and the day seemed at last itself, ready again
for beginning.