Friday, August 7, 2015

Rocco de Giacomo writes


When you get back to the campgrounds,

you’ll have a hot shower and cook

some rotini with canned mushroom sauce,

sprinkled generously with pepper.

And on the way to Nipigon tomorrow, you’ll

sip earth-black coffee and listen to the conclusion

of Smilla’s Sense of Snow, on tape.

You try this line of reasoning,

but the trail takes you with its logic:

a phantom limb, the wet spreading blindly

through your clothes, grazing the skin: the memory

of fire, and trees upended like torn dresses,

the stutter of branches, the strangle of vines:

before you know it, you’ve been caught

in a drowning of such faith, that when it ends

at the edge of a lake, a small part of you, a candle  

in bone, is sure that this is where you

ought to be. Of course, it is only a mirror

at the end of a dark hallway, a glimmer

of false dawn: dinner tonight, Nipigon tomorrow

are the itch in your throat now; and the hunting lodge

half-eaten by moss and the fire-tower scorched

by rust are barely biblical, little hands that point.

But the long heavy growl, the glyphic movement

in the undergrowth is your revelation, a language

of tongues broken by its own harshness, the scrawl

of the infinite, scratched in the leaves.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Nipigon is a rural community north of Thunder Bay, Ontario, that attracts fishermen and other outdoorsmen. Perhaps it is relevant that the Nipigon River Bridge is the narrowest transportation bottleneck in Canada, in the same way that the poem itself describes a sort of emotional bottleneck. And of course, in Tina Nunnally's translation of Peter Høeg's Danish thriller, SMILLA'S SENSE OF SNOW, the bi-cultural heroine's investigation into the mysterious death of an Inuit boy is actually a plot device for exploring the nature of relationships between individuals and societies...


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?