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Loonsong Bells

Remember when we mused on loons?

I tried to describe their tolling

Over some misty pond at dusk,

The way that melancholy note

Resonates amidst the timber

And echoes back from distant shorelines,

Evokes some feeling I couldn’t name

Or perhaps even isolate,

The way it incites me to pray

For a pause or more time
Or at least a slow decay.


Now I know the feeling I meant,

Although I still don’t know its name;

It’s that tug when fingerprints stick.


It’s the catch and then the jump,

The staccato snare and the slide

Of a sweet and sorry parting ways,

The featherlight kiss of our skins

When we strain for steadier breaths

And our grips go slack again

And our fingers which were touching

With such kindness and intention

Retreat slowly along the ridges

And shallow canyons of our palms,

Each fine facet on each landscape

Grasping for its complement 

In the other, reaching mightily. 


Do you know the feeling I mean?

It’s what a summer leaves behind.


It’s that ball-in-throat, empty heat,

The warm breath which lingers yet when

Hands settle back into themselves,

When our tears breach and our fingers

Curl again into hollow fists

So we might stand a fighting chance

Against the lonely and its length,

Against the autumn coming quick.


Do you know the feeling I mean?

It’s the coolness of a wet cheek.


It’s that sea-breeze sweeping up 

The tracks we made above the tide,

A fresh mist on the windshield,

The leaner times before a feast.


Do you know the feeling I mean?

It’s the hollow hurt of loving.


Outside the door of your building 

I stood with my bags at my knees

And watched as you came to me

Down the length of the corridor. 


Perhaps it’s just my imagining

But layered ‘top the loonsong

I thought I heard church bells rolling.

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