29 tons on his back

Suddenly we leap back into Northwest Coast mythology, back to the land of tricksters & ghosts (Bluejay, "Wedge").  An illustration of the unpredictable downward motion of the poem (after Henry thought he had already emerged from the underworld!).


Now the sticky palegreen chaos of buds appears
and soon the baby clovers will make a bed for your feet. 
March winds up the spring numbers now almost complete. 
Squinting, Henry, his eyes spent by his wooden peers,

scribbles the thin lettering slowly all over his memo. 
His ohs, his whys, his May-bes, his heavy Blackstone ares
coughing up teas all over his scriptolite mirrors,
he almost forgot about his bluejays – oh-oh!

Then a clever little Wedge in the margin began to whisper: 
Henry – you all alone and lonely now?
I'm going to visit my shadow –
c'mon along!  And bring five pails of water –

those prairies are a bit phosphorescent!
The water was heavy water on his shoulder.
Shrink, shrink, shrink earth!  Shrink mountains! he heard 
Wedge warble malevolently.  They began their descent,

and those pails felt like 29 tons on his back, 
the water pouring his clothes off, the pails 
whirling him around and around in swirls until 
he began to feel quite green. .. I want to go back!

he heard himself wail, but the fIre and the acrid black 
smoke and the whirlpools of pail water surrounded 
him on all sides and Wedge was nowhere to be found, 
only his light laughter floated above the wreck as

Henry, doubled over, slid slowly along a diagonal 
checkmated on its spiralling edge with extraordinary 
quizcross of perpendicular particulars and nary
a sign of what he thought he heartfully hoped for – soil

vacation. . . or firm ground once again to dream upon. . . 
naked. . . without an extra towline. . . unpredictably down. . .

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