Monday, June 30, 2008

dog days

heat draws down
the road, dust
dark hands rising and vanishing
as we approach
sunny pockets between
aprons of
white-barked aspen

the car rolls, steadily over
dried mud hillocks
but never quite fast enough
to leave the mosquitoes
behind

the dogs stay in front,
trying to slow us down
tongues growing longer
with every hot minute
dreaming of a deep puddle
to lie in, mud to lick
easing parched throats

dark hands draw down
heat, rising and vanishing
as we approach
the road, dust
in their pockets


Rachel Westfall
June 30, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

second born

green eyed girl
I barely know you
as if our lives
have touched only briefly

I have been
so busy, so distracted
since the door cracked
open between us, letting
in the blinding light of morning

what keeps you
and what turns you away?

green eyed girl
your hair glistens
like the feathers of a bird
and you have the swift heart
of a swallow

what makes your eyes
shine gold-black as if brushed
by the music of the stars?


Rachel Westfall
June 29, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

There are stranger things

In my hand lies a piece of darkness
shaved cleanly from the night sky
in the dead of winter

In my heart lies a hint of madness
trapped there since the November
wind howled through

In my mind is an image of
unimaginable beauty, engraved
in indelible ink

Spin me a story, weave me a spell
bind it all together
into a shape that I can recognise when
I stumble through the house at night
momentarily caught sleep-blind


Rachel Westfall
June 25, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

the smell of salt

the gulls comb the air with their
wings carrying the scent of
salt thousands of miles from
the sea

the wind carries echoes of
the sound of waves
heat and the taste of
sand
on your skin

though it has been awhile

I still find grains of
sand and salt
deep in the pockets
of my coat
and toss them to
these errant gulls, with a wish

that they may carry them
back some day
to one
gaultheria winter


Rachel Westfall
June 23, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

another flight of fancy

i’d give anything
to be able to kiss away
your grief

to learn your body
slowly, cell by cell

to draw you into my bed,
hold you cocooned in my warmth
until you sleep, like a baby
like a baby

i’m a mother
aren’t i supposed to
be able to make it
all better?


Rachel Westfall
June 21, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Birdspeak

Bright eye—what do you see?

Is it an opportunity for mischief,
or curiosity that draws that
shining black pebble over
this way?

When you leave
your rocky perch, what
will you tell your companions
in the low chuckle
of your raven-speak?

Will they ask how your
feathers came to be
so ruffled, what you
discovered, or whether you
filled your stomach today?


Rachel Westfall
June 19, 2008

More ravens lurk here:
Watch the skyline
Watcher in the woods
Ravenrise

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

meadow

the grass is a bed
of razors. you may

have difficulty seeing
from one end of the field

to the other without
harming your vision. yet

within this dense mat
of defenses—look close—you

will see wildflowers
push softly and persistently

through, reaching for
the light. their deep yellow

and violet blooms
are a refuge for small

hapless beings. lie down
in this meadow crushing

sharp blades of grass and
pungent herbs. breathe

their intoxicating scent
and look straight

up into the sky. if you
discover a secret world there

your life will never be
the same again.


Rachel Westfall
June 18, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

broken

how easily is a good
feeling crushed? so
readily, like a fragment
of robin’s egg, found
beneath a tree in the moss
such a hopeful blue

the last time I recall seeing
my father really smile, where
it touched his eyes, green
flecked with brown, I carried
the news of the mock-orange
broken by a fallen bicycle

I still carry the guilt
for smashing that
morning’s sunshine

and I often wondered
growing up
if it was my fault
he stopped smiling


Rachel Westfall
June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

these fragments

there is nothing left to do
but sleep. one eye closes
but the other remains persistently
open, unable to push out
this steady harassment

imagine

if a swan would land on
the stream, would her smooth
body keep the water open
as winter comes? see her
circling repetitively in ever
narrowing arcs

like in childhood, sagging
in an upholstered chair
in front of a neglected
bowl of goulash
when you followed
the rhythmic strokes of the violin
out of consciousness


Rachel Westfall
June 15, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

becoming legend

in her hand sits
a little hardwood locket
inside which is a perfectly smooth
round impossibly blue stone

she cannot remember where
it came from, but instinctively
she knows it must have significance

before she loses the feeling
of the weight of history, she slides
the stone discreetly into her mouth

and swallows

later, they will find the small
box in her still hand, unfamiliar and
empty, and they will tell long
convoluted stories
to give it meaning


Rachel Westfall
June 14, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Late night movie

I fell asleep thinking of
how my children will now
have to process a surprise
image of a smashed glass inciting
an angry mob, a burned
village in Romania and
a dead cherished one

and how my littlest one said as she
prepared to go to sleep, hot water
bottle under her chest, that she
never wants to live in a country

where Gypsies are, until I told her
Gypsies are here, everywhere,

we are Gypsies, and she went to

sleep clinging to the hope/
the story that we are safe
here, our laws protect us
from racist violence

and how the older one said these
things don’t happen any more
these days, do they? And how I
broke his peace when I told him
gently

about the ashes still
smoldering in Italy


Rachel Westfall
June 13, 2008


-> Rom News Network
-> Petrol bombing outside Naples
-> The movie (Gadjo Dilo)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yesterday evening

Chores did not get done. One child
was rigid with fear at the prospect
of a summer holiday
at his grandmother’s house, while

the other dreamed of dragon eggs

carved patiently by the river out of
rough granite.

The sun returned, and the vegetables
stretched in their garden bed out
towards the remembered soothing warmth.

The earth seemed unhurried, but we,
caught in a midsummer panic, were
frantic to fast-forward our lives
to a better time.


Rachel Westfall
June 12, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

Denouement

Someone walked on my
grave today, smashing
the trees. Harsh lumps of

concrete crushed thin soil

and soft fronds of vegetation.
The chickadees are not
pleased. You only turn

ninety-one once, and I’m

tired to the bone. Some
day this ancient story
has to find its ending, leaving

strands of coloured thread
among the branches, each one

a prayer.


Rachel Westfall
June 9, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Snow in summer?

June 8th in Whitehorse.... yes, that is snow!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

ancestral song

This dream-walk takes
you to a deep well long
forgotten in the centre
of a summer meadow.

Someone has placed
terrible secrets
here, hoping that
the seasons and the rain
would rust them
into sand.

They are not yours, but
the blood remembers.


Rachel Westfall
June 7, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008

bedtime story

you are my rough edges
smoothed with the persistent hum
of dragonflies

here one story ends
and another begins, embryonic

I choose for this one to start
with a piece of grey-green
stone flecked with flint
worn soft and ripe
with potential


Rachel Westfall
June 5, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The world of ants



These ants and their many fellow citizens inspired this poem...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

the burden of streetlights

if it never gets dark
how can I find what
I left in the night?

somewhere back there is
a recollection of a brief
moment that never should
have happened at all

some things are best
left in our twenties but they become
unwanted souvenirs that

are found years later in
tangled drawers of miscellany that

nobody would take off
our hands


Rachel Westfall
June 3, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

summer hollow

little lost one
wait here and listen,
in the comfort of the souls of the trees

sit still and you will
hear them murmur
gentle reassurances to those
who find respite here

it means nothing to them
if you are alive,
or if your bones slowly grow moss
on this bed of roots

roots that weave tendril-like
patiently over old thigh bones
buried under years of
decaying leaf litter

it is all the same

Rachel Westfall
June 2, 2008