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.