Okanagan Gneiss

I was doing something wrong with my life.
In the highlands sunlight outlined the lodgepole pine
Making a black absence in the blue sky
The exact shape of a pine. Let me sketch for you
The red cedar alone in the lower dark
With its sash of moss woven from pure-green
Filaments of age, or the white aspen swimming
In its riffle of sky, or the vine maple’s
Old Welsh scrawled in gnarled script
Across the underbrush. Yes, I was doing something wrong
With my life. Listen. The foley has forgotten
The birdcall and the horse’s breath
And your stomach but not the brittle tick of leaves
Falling like sunlight, like someone approaching fast from behind.
Everything we need to know is locked up
In this folio of rock I see you reading with your mind.
Nothing is too hard when you know how alone you are.

Matt Rader is the author of Desecrations (McClelland and Stewart 2016). The author of three previous collections of poetry, and the book of stories, What I Want to Tell Goes Like This, his work has appeared in journals and magazines across North America, Europe, and Australia. He teaches Creative Writing in the Department of Creative Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. He lives in Kelowna, BC.