Day the Sky Fell

Yelps, snaps, snarls –
brother & sister littermates arf off out there
just for the stinky-wet polyp-popping
gun dog heck of it. Jeers, threats, tears –
a delicious symphony to flapping outlaw ears
above each slobbering jet black blob
of pell-mell nonsense, their carefree feet
slashing like lobsters.
                                         Puppy Buffer
tries out his new teeth on a stray rock,
daring the world to try taking it off him.
Until, quietly, you do. Slick
with saliva, a scratchy ironstone discus
older than any temper.

Thinking through the fling of it:
“Slitting the dead-man’s throat.”
A broken window costs six allowances;
a broken ocean is free.
Whipping out sidearm to slice
flight itself, suspending offhand pride until
it dives & dies without a gloat. The sure kill
without a wave goodbye.
And the curve of the world
on the globe in your mind –
vertical moment held outside any notion of now –
projecting a larger gist at the edge of
another possibility: thrown beyond shared listening,
the best ones clear horizons.

All for the best lifts its leg, relieves itself of memory
if we’re about to keep on going.
Pyres arise & blaze, casually lifting kids & dogs
to the best of storied mysteries –
our songs belonging to a longing sweeter
than any danger.
Redefining that beckoning headland,
insuring we’ll be seen at sea. The usual tide
asserts itself, taking over everything
given & forgiven. How many waves does it take
to wash away anything
written in blood? How many dreams
can you fit in a rune?

Bill Howell

Bill Howell, one of the original Storm Warning poets, has had a literary career spanning five decades. His work appears regularly in journals and anthologies across Canada, in the UK, Australia, Sweden, Japan, and the US. Born in Liverpool, England, he grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and has lived in Toronto for more than half his life. Bill was a network producer-director at CBC Radio Drama for three decades. Ranging from the lyrical to the ironic, his poetry deploys colloquial language, deliberate narrative, and a sharp sense of the focused moment. Recent work: Canadian Literature, Dalhousie Review, Great Lakes Review, Literary Review of Canada, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Queen’s Quarterly, Stand, Tokyo Poetry Journal, Two Thirds North, and White Wall Review. His latest collection, The Way Things Are at the Moment, will be released later this year by the American publisher, Kelsay Books.