EVERY MOON IS PERFECT
Every moon is perfect
His hand on my back, one finger lifts,
falls, on my scapula.
But it’s her he holds in his sleep, dreams in his hands, Prairie,
his knee, his shoulder, his hands in her hair.
Under a perfect moon he doesn’t speak my name.
WHO CAN TILT THE WATER SKINS OF THE HEAVENS
Before ink, lithe with buffalo grass, rough
fescue, she came in season when old woman untied
Orion’s belt and he flung aside his club. Prairie turned
with him, his hip, his shoulder, his sword
deep in her coulee. She held his seed
through many seasons, mule deer and whitetails
taking theirs in autumn when his constellation
rose in the east at sunset.
Now, pipes in sections, each joint rigid,
drilled deep in her parenchyma, have shifted, mixed
her fluids, frayed, broken her. Her hills
cut down, long scars converge
where flares stillbirth her northern lights
into sorrow. Sorrow, in the silences between her
measured phrases, she tastes air-
borne emissions, switches from her native
tongue. Frac fluid benzene H2S sulphur
dioxide cannot be spoken with coneflower,
ascending milk-vetch; drilling mud with scarlet
mallow. Prairie turns to Orion, toluene blue
in his blood, his fluids
in her, her blood
loose in her body. Come morning, my cheek
on goat’s flank, I taste lightning:
milk snow-blinds me. I, the goat, fuse.
Thunder cleaves an imperfect fissure.
Prairie’s horizon is circled by mirage, flat-topped
cliffs where old woman, Breath, sits cross-legged.
Nora Gould ranches and volunteers in wildlife rehabilitation in east central Alberta. Her first book I see my love more clearly from a distance is forthcoming from Brick Books in April 2012.