Ruth Daniell

Today I can’t be sad

I’m recalling the white pelicans fishing at the weir,
their great throats opening like wet velvet.
I am reminded, imperfectly, of the drawstring bag
that held my marble collection as a child.
It expanded with soft glass sounds
or emptied into a slender swath of fabric.
The throats of the pelicans are of course
more sophisticated than a bag of marbles.
Truth is, I like the fact that metaphors fail
sometimes. I like the fact that there are so many things
on the earth that are unlike anything else on the earth.
I think of the way you tell me—after a month apart—
what a pleasure it is for you to feel my familiar and
exciting body next to yours. 
I am unlike anything else on the earth.

August 27:

After weeks of wildfire smoke
and air quality warnings, weeks of
palpable anxiety for the earth
and its descendants, today I wake
early to fresh rain puddled on the ground
and clear blue skies. I know the world isn’t
fixed by my mood but, oh, how wonderful,
the expansive cool morning. I take the baby
to the park. There are geese in the pond,
turtles sunbathing. I see small yellow birds 
in the treeline. Months and months ago
I might have been able to tell you
what kind of birds they are: I used to
remember my binoculars, my field guide—
now I remember diapers, wipes, spare shirts.
I am attentive to a different set of beauties, now,
nesting in my own way. The baby, sometimes,
especially now, reminds me of a baby bird: 
in her high chair at breakfast, for example,
her mouth eager, wide open, ready for the spoon,
for anything I offer her. She is such a good eater,
a delightful, chubby baby,
the picture of health. Already she’s forgotten
about the smoke and how it made her rub her eyes.
Watching me watching her, 
she’s waiting for the world, ready for it,
sure it’s all going to be as sweet as the local gold plums
her grandfather buys at the market and sends to her,
since she’s taken a special liking to them
and he, like the rest of the family,
has taken a special liking to her, 
little descendent of the burning world. What a thing
to know: we would all give her,
if we could, a life of hurtless mornings and infinite blueness.

Ruth Daniell is an award-winning Canadian writer and the editor of Boobs: Women Explore What It Means to Have Breasts (Caitlin Press, 2016). Her first full-length poetry collection, The Brightest Thing, will be published spring 2019 by Caitlin Press. Her poems and stories have appeared or are forthcoming in various journals across North America and elsewhere, including Arc Poetry Magazine, Grain, Room Magazine, Qwerty, Canthius, The Antigonish Review, and Contemporary Verse 2.  She was awarded first prize in the 2016 Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest with The New Quarterly and is a recent recipient of a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. She lives with her family in Kelowna, BC.