Between Lake Louise and the Highway
there is an envelope of green
quiet. When a hawk
fills the air with sound,
it's soon swallowed
by a blue spoon of sky.
In the distance lights draw faint
tidal traffic like impossibly brief moons.
Fence posts marked with names of dead dogs
edge the old mental hospital cemetery
with its trenches; patients 1-3000
lie in mass graves. All the earth
is full of bones;
roots like webs draw the named
and unnamed together.
I walk with my collie, head down,
and imagine people and dogs like lovers
finding each other below
the still ground.
Beneath the brambles my dog digs a hole;
in it she hears the dry crack of vertebrae
made straight, and the creaking
of old joints unfolding.
The dead are moving.
Hands, paws, shoulders, tails
are creeping forward,
making egg- shaped hollows
in the soil. The name of every
lost patient is in the mouth
of a dog.
They will find each other,
curling round in paired cocoons.
When their bones are unearthed,
will heal the three thousand.