Calgary

by D.S. Maolalai

we stopped at every fruitstand
winding around the mountain,
squeezing raspberries,
peeling oranges
and pausing by the roadside
to piss out tomato juice.

to the south
wood burned by acres
and the air filled 
with a light grey smoke,
feeling like cotton and smelling
of fried and cracking bacon.
sideroads cut off 
by emergency vehicles
and animals 
going wild on the wind.

once, breaking cover
a heron glided the lake
and at night 
bats whispered in snickers while we slept,
chasing after moths tied to the lamplight. 

we were headed 
for Calgary from Vancouver,
eating fresh apples and blackcurrants,
drinking milk mixed with watery 
vacuum-flasked tea
which leaked soggy
into every pack of sandwiches.

over us
woods poured like flowing water
and across them
silence rolled,
lumbering and ancient
like a great-legged thing
come rising 
and stinking from the sea.

D.S. Maolalai has been nominated four times for Best of the Net and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds.”