What Is in the Blood


Ellen Stone

We are flying over Erie,
late October. Boats still slash
blue like tadpoles, tails trailing.
The plain industry of Ontario –
hamlets splay beneath us now –
warehouse, pole barns, factory lots.
Roads bisect small towns like lone
train tracks stretching long to the north.
The threshing fields in between.

One night we drove into a thunderstorm
just off the Blue Water ferry, hot July
racing the boys & farmer getting in
the hay, the wheat, the oats. I forget
& it does not really matter, just
their tractor blazing through the tumult.
How they won, the rain, that triumph.
The bronzed beauty of rust & work,
such days of dust & dirt, days & days
after that. Another dawn. Dusk, a tally.

I don’t belong in this whiteness, such
narrow moments while this lake goes on
like mountains. We are thin consequence
burrowing into cloud, so substance-less.
If ever I touch land again – no dalliance
in air & water, just ground. Furrows
from the plow, temporary permanence
like breathing, but trail I can follow.