The dreariness of counting.
Railroad ties of sequestered days
bound to the iron rails of countourless
time; a tunnel through increasingly barren
taiga—thinning treetops, rocky tundra
as I chug ever onward
to an apocryphal shore.

Winter ensconces me,
and I hum the same song over and over
under my breath, mutated from monotony—
I don’t know what it is now. It was Paul McCartney
and Wings, “With a Little Luck,” back in April;
which I don’t even like, but maybe
it was some subliminal cue from the field
to make this whole damn thing work out.

“Can’t you feel the town exploding?”
No. But I can waste entire nights until 5am
Googling landscapes I can’t access,
now or maybe ever. Last night I was skipping lakes
in Sichuan; the other, climbing mountains in Panama.
Today, I’m back in Newfoundland, on a journey I traced
for weeks in bed once, flu gnawing at my bones.
The St. John’s houses, with their crayon colors
and the crispness of the digital sky
kept me alive, I think.

I am sending you a love letter
from the ferry I never traveled,
because the split rocks and whale calls
remind me of you;
the whole journey, not on this laptop—
but through the lonely heart
of the Trans-Labrador Highway
until the paved roads become pebbled
trails through a country of silence
with its hesitating bridges.
Come with me, because I know
you are made for this.
You can listen alone with me
as the tires bump and jostle the gravel
to the ambient stillness of spruces.

Can I love a place I’ve never been?
Come with me, when the coast is clear,
to the Gideon’s call of foghorns
and the rush of wind in your russet hair.
I want to see the cold playing your skin
and draw maps of the constellations
of your freckles. I want to discover
the highways and fire roads in you,
your back country, the icebergs that break ships
and the lounging sunlit seals.

Can I love someone I’ve never seen?
Can we cast a journey in between
while we’re waiting for life
to open its roads again?
The rusty sunlight
calls me from winter.
The willow turns his back
on inclement weather.

The waters pull us together
to the lighthouse at the end
of the tundra.
Seabirds coming home to roost.

I love you like this:
color on the cragged rocks,
a comfortable paradox
a ferry to an epilogue
an island of the mind.

© Psyche Marks 2021

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