«In October 2015 I was out in the yard.
I’d just finished splitting up the scrap 2x4s into kindling.
I glanced up at the half moon, pink, chill refinery cloud light.
2 big black birds flew over, their wings whooshing and low.
(but only 2)
Their black feathers tinted in the sunset.
I knew these birds were omens but of what I wasn’t sure.
They were flying out toward the island where we hoped to move.
You were probably inside.
You were probably aching, wanting not to die,
your body transformed.
I couldn’t bear to look so I turned my head west
like an early death.
Now I can only see you on the fridge in lifeless pictures
and in every dream I have at night
and in every room I walk into like
here where I sit the next October, still seeing your eyes,
pleading and afraid
full of love
calling out from another place
because you’re not here.
I watched you die in this room, then I gave your clothes away.
I’m sorry. I had to
and now I’ll move.
I will move with our daughter.
We will ride over water
with your ghost underneath the boat.
What was you is now burnt bones
and I cannot be at home.
I’m running. Grief flailing.
The second time I went to Haida Gwaii was just me and our daughter
only one month after you died. My face was still contorted.
Driving up and down, boots wet inside, aimless and weeping.
I needed to return to the place where we discovered that
childless, we could blanket ourselves in the moss there for our long lives
but when we came home you were pregnant
and then our life together was not long.
You had cancer and you were killed and I’m left living like this.
Crying on the logging roads with your ashes in a jar
thinking about the things I’ll tell you
when you get back from wherever it is that you’ve gone
but then I remember death is real.
And I’m still here in Masset. It’s August 12th, 2016.
You’ve been dead for one month and three days and we are sleeping in the forest.
There is sand still in the blankets from the beach where we released you from the jar.
When we wake up all the clothes that we left out are cold and damp just from the air permeating.
The ground opens up.
Surrounded by growth.
Nurse logs with layers of moss and life, young cedars, the sound of water, thick salal, an god-like huckleberries.
The ground absorbs and remakes whatever falls.
Nothing dies here
but here is where I came to grieve, to dive into it with you, with your absence
but I keep picking you berries.»