Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Investment Property

It’s like you now have two brains to flip or rent.
Each brain, to code, has two doors. Just think.

On weekends you whip open both brains
to air out the lobes and prevent mold. High-end,

your brains have granite countertops, vaulted
ceilings, hardwood floors. You remortgaged

the original brain so you could afford to build
the other. Alas, the new brain is at a standstill.

The builder of the brain installed a sink and went
on to another job. The sink does not match the tub.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Winter Owing

When fortunate enough to get any specimens of Mice I will put them in Rum. 
          – Donald Gunn to Spencer Baird. Feb 20, 1856.*

O fur of fortune
slicked back

bottom of the cask

grave half-closed
amber eyes


O white-footed

distilled post-squeak
spirit grog

O naked
swizzle stick

Ho ho ho
oak swish

pink post-lick


*The title and epigraph are from Donald Gunn’s letter to Spencer Baird in The Modern Beginnings of Subarctic Ornithology: Northern Correspondence with the Smithsonian Institution, 1856-68, edited and introduced by Debra Lindsay. Winnipeg: Manitoba Record Society, 1991. A fascinating book.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Rock wall and leaping ermine with vole

This is not a pretty picture, but oh well

...it tells a story.

Five sharp-tailed grouse stopped by this morning. The squirrel has no use for birds and always does its best to drive them away. That doesn't work with grouse.

Not five minutes later, three ravens flew over. A short while later they flew over again. And again. After nearly 30 years of watching ravens, I can tell just by the way they fly that grouse are around and, while it might seem a stretch, I have a good idea which species thanks to close-up occasions like today. With each soft swoop of raven, the grouse froze.


Today, November 9, the squirrel climbed the mountain ash, a tree it never climbs. There was a brief standoff.

Today the squirrel won.