Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008


Cool air, downed leaves
we ran the trail fast, bike led by dogs
led by the elusive scent of possibility.

A small bird, one wing not working right,
stumbled across the trail in front of us.

The dogs got there first.

Fauna, the wild one, scooped him up
gently in her mouth,
his foot twitching, his belly white
with soft down. On command
she dropped him, then scooped him again
in her mouth, cradled on her pink tongue
though he lay still. Once again
she dropped him, and he twitched
lightly but made no other effort
to escape. I laid the bike down
and held him in my hands—dark, soft

as he pushed tentatively against my hands
with his small beak. Dark head, he seemed
alert now, so I let him go
under a tree
hopefully to recover. The dogs—
so uncommonly good—stayed with the bike
and by some miracle didn’t drag it into the ditch
bending cogs, but instead
waited for their treat
not so restless now, though like me

they cannot sit still
on these days when the trees don their
Halloween costumes
[bare limbs reaching

and frost waits for us
slippery, deceptive
in hidden pockets of shade.

Rachel Westfall
September 26, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008


bring me a splinter of the sunlight
that I can see
in the depths of your eyes

a swallow of your air,
cool and moist with the scent
of the mountains will draw me
back down into my body,
[that neglected home
of the soul which aches
now in distant memory
of the time before]

slide your hand
down my spine,
as the joy rises up
into my throat and presses there,
roosting proud as a homing pigeon

Rachel Westfall
September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008


The ravens choose a direction, bickering briefly

then travel with one mindset—never criss-cross.
Maybe independence is not individual, but
rather a virtue communally shared. Now here we are,

silly humans, lost at cross-purposes,
occasionally moving in tandem
more by chance than by design.

We strayed, then years later

here we are, battle-scarred
but still smiling. We know
one another’s scent with the certainty
of littermates, eager to hear

the stories that carried on
though our ears were turned away
for so long.

Rachel Westfall
September 19, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Song for Angel

Wet road, spit
a cup of Timmy’s double-double
and another
yet another tag on the wall
won’t keep you safe

There’ll be no nest for these angels, but
we’ll have a pretty nice
damn highway
Yeah, another smooth highway that will
take you to
the highway of tears
if you follow it along,

if you make it that far

Sleep well,
sweet angels

Sweet Angel

Your mother will remember
the feel of her mouth briefly touch
your forehead, her hand
as it brushed the damp hair
from your brow, cheeks flushed
as night came

sweet child

You are lost,

but we’ll have a pretty nice
damn highway

Rachel Westfall
September 15, 2008

-> Angel's Nest
-> Richard Mostyn's editorial on highways and youth shelters
-> Highway of Tears

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The last child

A word starts small. The child,
dreaming nightly of bird-flight and the
cool moist night air on her cheeks, awakens

despondent each morning in the same stale
nightie and twisted sheets. Nobody understands
why she cries when she wakes, nor

why her drawings are all of trees, sky
mountains and open air, though she lives

in this city choked with high-rises thick
like weeds blocking the light.

Somewhere inside this child, there is a story
which starts with a word, which starts
small. Like dandelions breaking

tenaciously through pavement, each dream
pushes its tender head softly and persistently
against the unyielding concrete of reality,

one day sure to find light.

Rachel Westfall
September 11, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008


Wanted: a nurturing community to cherish and support two inspired, earth-connected children and their malcontent mother.

A place where random acts of violence and angry words cannot disrupt the natural ebb and flow of life.

A tribe that believes in working together to build what is needed, rather than competing for scarce resources.

A government built on collaboration and consensus, not on division and self-reward.

A safe place to grow a unique child without the threat of being ostracized for being different.

Human companionship without anger and resentment.

Small-town Canada need not apply.

Rachel Westfall
September 8, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

woodland prophecy

walk carefully where the moss
grows thick,
suffocating root and rock, cushioning
nodding red beads
of cranberry.

this place does not speak
the language
of anger. your hostile words

fall deadened to the ground, scattered
alongside yellowed leaves
of birch, rendered harmless.

sharpen your intent
or this place will bring on
a slow confusion, drawing you
into endlessly spiralling
endlessly spiralling trails
until dark comes,
holding you fast
as the air
grows chill.

walk carefully. this place
does not speak the language

Rachel Westfall
September 7, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

Creation story

Three days went by while I coughed,
hard—clearing something unknown.
Then one morning an egg emerged
from my surprised mouth, open as
the point of an exclamation mark, the egg
hard and luminous as a dragon’s.

What will be birthed from this
inelegant pause in vocalization?

Three days went by, and I hardly
seemed to notice. Now—I wonder—will it be days,
weeks or infinity times infinity before this new being
is ready to emerge, mouse-like from
its impossibly smooth, calciferous
place of refuge?

Rachel Westfall
September 5, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


A long weekend at the beginning of autumn, speckled with sun, a cool wind and a small lake, the latter abandoned now by the summer revellers who have gone seeking warmer bodies of water to bare their skin and consume frothy beverages beside.....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Aspen walk

Even with the aspen leaves turning yellow and beginning to blanket the trail, the dogs can always find the way. They stick to the trail these days, reluctant to risk being nipped on the butt (again) by a bold coyote should they stray too far into the woods... though I'd hoped to see our coyote friend once more, since she shadowed us the last time we walked here.