Barrens Willow Dumb giant, I have no words to fit what I find on Burnt Cape: joints of a sprawled octopus-sized tree, its roots, or are they branches, meshed with a moss-clump meshed with a shrunken alder, or is it bearberry, sharing various leaves. What looks like a driftwood stick--white, gnarled: I reach to touch--is hard as a porcelain handle bolted down, bone beads stuccoed into the somehow live grain. Leaf-puddle tree flush with the gravel it grows in--is the willow something the great gull of winter shat from the sky? Unnatural snake twisting up from a cold cleft into sun, opening a mouthful of leaves. It follows philosophy rather than habit, adopting any form to suit its needs: trunk prone or upright, limbs fountaining or burrowing. Everything wants first of all something to hook to--a father's songs, a sedum stem to catch a windblown seagull's breast feather. A larch needle halts in the feather's lea. Lichen crumbs, moss dander sift in. A willow seed opens a trunk of its mother's letters.
from Lookout (McClelland & Stewart, 2010) reprinted by permission of McClelland & Stewart