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What can we know of a world
that cancels itself over and over again,
its gaze turned away from us
even as we crane to catch a glimpse
of what it might be looking at? 

Sparrows in the clockwork, feathers
meshing with the flywheel of the strike train,
that wonder of time gliding into a station at 5:16 p.m.,
the precise moment of your death.
Yet, even Da Vinci, father of clocks,
could not predict when one journey ends
and another begins. 

Don’t you see?
We can’t stop the poplars from changing color
and dropping their leaves. We can’t stop the Mergansers
from diving for salmon eggs in the stream. 
We can’t even stop ourselves from growing old.

Everyone and everything moves according to its own purpose,
its own time. This morning, a flock of cedar waxwings
feeding in the mountain ash before they flew on. 

I breathe you into my hand and close it.
If I knew how to bring you back,
I’d know who or what God is, the soul
a feathered thing that loves to sing the sky.

Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash

Heidi Garnett

Heidi Garnett was born near Gdansk (Danzig) during WWII.  Prior to being expulsed in 1945-46, her Mennonite family had farmed the Danziger Werder since the 1500's.  Her poems have been published in literary journals throughout Canada, the USA and in Great Britain.  Two years ago, she was shortlisted for the Mitchell Prize sponsored by Image Journal.  In addition, she has also won the Winston-Collins prize and was shortlisted by Canada Writes, Arc, Antigonish Review, CV2, Rattle in California and others.  She is presently working on a novel based on a tape her father left about how he walked across wartorn Germany and Poland to find his wife and child trapped behind Russian lines, as well as a third poetry collection.

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