I have his first two letters tacked on a map
and strings and pins born in Ontario,
thread across the sun-fed plains, tracking
his trip, and I’ll show it to him when he returns.
He’s told me how Canada is free. Weightless. He writes
how the gales and ghosts howl at the moon, instead of the wolves.
And how the white larks alight atop birches that flutter in
the breeze. And how instead of sending a photograph, he’s sending
these letters, pulped from firs once on the banks of the
rivers, and that I now have a piece of Canada in my hands.
If I receive a third letter from Mel, he’ll have signed it like the others
—with a final sorry—and it’ll be in all cursive like he learned in school.
But there’s an unpinned thread on my map, hanging in abandon
from the rest. A field of light illuminates its loose end. I fiddle
with it each day, shortening its span to six separate figments
of a string, none of them quite strong enough.