Camera

Every morning, as I am about
to go out,
I see my camera on the hallway dresser
where I have deliberately left it,
charged with dark promise,
the magic lantern of schoolkids’ stories —
convinced that if I don’t take it
I am bound to see something astonishing
and only have my doubtful words.

I am always right:
the cones of the blue spruce
in the late winter light drape
on the top branches like
streetseller wares, plumbed fruit
hanging from his shoulders.
Or along the base
of our eastern slope,
where stubborn white pelts of snow
depress the prairie grass,
the veins of deer tracks
trickle out and finger.

I take the camera, then,
convinced that I have made
the whole world suddenly dull.
And I am always right:
what I saw in the spruce
I couldn’t tell you,
the tired interminable drupe
of the bough /
not at all like vulture wings,
or the ratcatcher swinging
from a shoulder yoke, by their tails,
this late winter catch of cone.
How the deer are gone again,
and left us the mundane definition
of their feet, more loss
than lotuses.