Ledum more familiar than Labrador tea,
another misnomer for rhododendron
in matted growth beneath the most shallow
depth of snow on record in all our winters.
Pausing upbluff from the edge of the ice
I broke from branches leaves to pin between
my teeth and tongue until warmed enough
for their fragrant oil to break and cleanse
you from me. Somewhere in a bank of fog
beyond the visible end of open water, low
rounded hills were alleged windfeathered,
not capillary, nervous or venous in drainages.
In routes along the shore, forever slipping
under, I am reminded — in the city
one finds it simple to conceive nothing,
a system, and nothing but a world of men.