After Psalm

Stephanie Bolster’s first book, White Stone: The Alice Poems (1998), won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the...

Where those deer bedded down
was where my friend said
deer bedded down
before he realized it was where
his friends a day back pitched
a tent. Suddenly whatever pastoral
slant the light had went poof.
All those groves in haiku
the eyes shining in them
just a bunch of animals
looking at us. We were just
a few kms from lattes
and made in China
t-shirts packed in factories
vaster than his couple of acres.
Nobody jumped down turned around
picked that bale of cotton.
What had gotten him going
on owning this was that stint
out east where he found
in rising forests cut with meadows
signs of old industry. The land
would spring back. He bought this
cleared patch just down
from the rainforest with a bunch
of apple trees of old varieties
growing in a growing bog.
The friends camped closer
to the house on their night
on the island over from
somewhere now called
mainland. Us too on a mini
vacation within a vacation
the car stuffed with a subset
of a subset of our stuff. Was that
the day of the little dog that ran
for the ball or the little dog
who ran? We didn’t see any
deer but signs by the side
of the road. The flagstone slab
on the keyring from the Flagstone
B & B anchored my purse
all day. My friend
would commute by froth a while
then put it up for sale.
Half a million he’d say
over a decade later
you interested? As if
we could manage that. Now
I’d never get back. The years
I’d known him pre- that
day the deer hadn’t been there
stretched so much better
than those since. More stuff
held them together. Is that
what happens? Years before
I think I swam in a lake
just down the road or another
friend of mine did and I
watched or we watched
someone swim. She said
Captain Picard owned a place
here somewhere. Space
said a voice from far back
the final frontier.