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Sport 43: 2015

Red Lake

page 49

Red Lake

For days we cross the highest plane.
I think of sea borders far from these stretches
of dust. This country’s edge invisible as a trip line
or culture—a snag, a sudden immersion.

I long for a river to swim in
but we pass quickly into night with a crackle
of water-like light sliding over rocks
the sandy colour of peeled peaches.

By morning, my wet clothes hung to dry
in the window have frozen solid. The women
in my room have fine rivulets of blood running
from the softly steaming heat of their breath.

My cold skin is translucent, a blue hue in it
could be the stain of movement or a bruise.
Still it’s home to me, like the remembered burn
and tickle of dusty carpet in sun, small mammal

howls, a forest along the sill, a window
to sit in. Framing is everything,
is the paint on my nails, turning feet from slugs
to sirens and the maraca

of my pulse, the invisible line behind me
and that wide red lake turning into sky
as birds rise and I part these rows
of bones to tell someone where I’m from.