The George River Caribou Herd

for Massey College

A line of dumptrucks idles and clanks;
as one crawls roaring out of its square pit
like an angry mastodon
another creeps downslope to be loaded

from blue-gray glacier dregs below the city.
Bloor Street westbound is pale with dust,
traffic twirls it high, the wind snatches it
up and around the world. Some even falls

on the George River caribou herd
ranging from James Bay to the Labrador Sea
800,000 strong. If you were there
the dust would be blackflies. All would be silence

except for blurts and murmurs of caribou bellies,
the rasp of teeth and lips tearing the lichen free,
the soft knock of their hooves on stone,
the light breeze blowing around the world.

October 25, 2012