Alan: All writing seems an act of translation, as deep reading is a hope to be translated.
She sat next to me, reading
La Neige Tombant Sur Les Cèdres
the whole flight, east coast to Seattle,
except for a meal, a nap or two,
her book filling the dry cabin
high, high above the parched nation
with mystery, with green and solemn light.
I felt then the cedars I was leaving
and those toward which I was passing,
how cool they would be, even in summer,
and how in winter the snow off Fundy
or Puget Sound would hold the half-light steady
in its moist fingers, weaving a story, the same and not the same,
among the branches over my upturned face.
Nancy: I feared neither man nor beast when Folly was with me. And she would be with me, even if it meant bending the bars we’d put on the pickup cap.
The black dog falls out of the drawer
in casual parts, as she wandered through photographs
which were not meant to be photographs of dogs
but of gardens, or friends, or of the north Atlantic.
Missing the dog is much the same. Bits of dog
scattered all through our landscapes take us by surprise.
I must have thousands of images latent: see how she runs
in the shadow of a bird, black on snow, caught
in the act of quick grace.
There’s no weighting her down with a stone,
this dog who has gone everywhere.
“The Translator” first appeared in the Beloit Poetry Journal. “Ghost Image” first appeared in East of the Light (Stone Man Press & Slow Dancer Press, 1984).