Öskjuhlíð

pale drip of sun. figures dis-/appear between the trees. ground littered with banana peels, black as the wet Spruce bark all around. damp, seething moss. damp as British Columbia (my bones remember: ache and shiver.) listen: a plane departs for Akureyri.

on the path below, a child cries in his mother’s arms. I keep my back to the blue corner and watch them ascend, approach. watch the wind shift fine whips of grass on the forest floor.

she reaches me and the child quiets. looking up, in, she marks the air with words and rearranges the boy in her arms. calls to the others. I invite her to sit: plush moss and the Tree Quilt, a very nice rock with a pleasant depression. I smooth it under my palm.

she smiles in the doorway, declines the seat. leans against the framing Spruce, looks in on the space that drapes and shelters me as if it were mine. (I have only just got here.) the Bird House flutters. Monashee is staked beneath a lump of hardened lava. I put my shoes on and go outside.

the children jump rock to rock, over the cones, under the scratch bald branches that have forgotten the sun. they find the dead rabbit, sogged and doted on by flies. throw a stick. a pebble. ask to touch.

another plane. an hour or so. my stomach licks its lips and cracks its knuckles. (the past rolls up, disappears.) and they are gone.