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Peter Trower

SKOOKUMCHUCK
by Peter Trower

Reprieved for a merciful moment
from repetitive conversation
in the ramshackle evening bunkhouse,
I watch the alders move like great grey reeds
to a wrinkling wind
below the ruined watersheds wrung slopes
where new roads snake past the snowline
and the black amputated claws
of charred stumps
grip dirt in the scarcountry
I have stumbled back to the woods
after drunken years of absence
driven again by several needs -
found my way to this woebegone place
of weatherbattered buildings
where a disused landing barge
landed forever
rusts in the bushes
like all my hamstrung dreams
Sing a song of recompense -
noisy joshing suppertimes
in a cookhouse with a broken guthammer
Sing a song of necessity
in this ancient logging camp
by the tidal rapids called Skookumchuck
which means -Strong Water
and must be drunk
beyond bottles.