It happened like this.

            Darkness claimed her


            those months when she had bandages

like a tight fist


into each eyesocket.

                                    The dark

kept pieces of her

                             eyes, and left

itself behind, little drops of darkness,


across her retinas

                             like black stars.


                                                            This explains why

        she never stops touching him with her eyes

closed, why she walks around her rooms alone with her eyes

closed, why she wishes she could write it down with her eyes

closed, why she knows there’s darkness

inside her.



Wherever it goes, the darkness takes her

dark eyes with it,

she moves inside it


to Asia when the sun’s above her roof,

            to the bottom of the sea,

            swims through hidden caves,

                        she rides under the feathers

                        of a drifting raven, slips

                                    along the sidewalk in shadows,

                                                sneaks through your pupils

                                                and into your skull,

                                                            dives into an inkwell and comes back up,

                                                            darkness dripping from her body

                                                            in black script.


You can go so many places, come back

with so many things, if

you keep your closed eyes open in the dark,

twin moons in the sky of your head.

Copyright Melanie Cameron, Holding the Dark, The Muses' Company, 1999

I love you

furiously.  I love you

like the dancer spinning

in an empty room,

leaping              collapsing

on an oak floor,

in a path of sunlight.


            I love you

like the sculptor moving her hands

over marble, knowing

of a centre she will never carve, so

cold      solid     silent.


            I love you

like the gardener

with dirt on her knees,

purple flowers in her hair,

creeping-thyme tucked under her tongue,


like the carpenter sanding pine,

fragrance of wood on her skin all day,


like the potter warming clay

with the heat of her palms,


like the musician in a rainstorm.


            I love you

in so many layers, in so much space,

in skies of white paper,

            I love you

off this land, past these stars,

like the poet who takes you with her.

Copyright Melanie Cameron, Holding the Dark, The Muses' Company, 1999


Beyond wishing, she wishes

you could feel her, like the poem

she is.  If you could

feel her that way, she would

have so many syllables, rhymes,

a beautiful sound on your tongue, a

rhythm, you would always know

where she’s moving next, but

never know just how

she’d take you

there.  She would

wrap herself around you,

like the poem she is.  You would rest

inside her, like breath.

Copyright Melanie Cameron, Holding the Dark, The Muses' Company, 1999


Walking into each other, and walking


around a frozen lake in spring, fallen

branches like crude brushstrokes, slashed across ice and sky,


over a beaver dam, its stagnating defiance obvious,

its creators’ presence perfectly concealed.


Sleeping on a picnic table, clouds of bugs, one cloudless August night.


Lazing around in an autumn field, crickets humming,

smoke obscuring the setting sun.


Wandering through cemeteries along the roadside,

adding and subtracting years, calculating

relationships between the dead, speculating class, cause,




beside the ocean at dusk, the rugged cup of its thrashing body,

dangerous and foreign.  The girl, a woman, almost


stepping over a cliff, its immaculate vertical disguise.


Pulses angry as the tide below, the woman, the man, lying flat

on a mock-carpet of tough grass at cliff-edge.


The woman thinking, We’ll remember this.  How soon


one will step, quite accidentally,

beyond these days, into memory’s arms, out of the other’s

loving grasp.

Copyright Melanie Cameron, wake, The Muses' Company, 2003

She can come sit

in this alcove on this bank,

beside the Assiniboine.  She

can imagine




this concrete city, days


when things moved

in the directions they wanted to, when


you could be


with the water, its slow-moving

medicine.  And yet,


as she sits on this bank, traffic racing

four directions around her, and her

pleading only

for one, she knows that



will pour

down, in

the form of things

she might not

immediately recognize.  And she knows it


will carry her

toward where

she must go, as the Assiniboine

always carries itself

toward the Red.


            And while she waits, a man

            in a yellow raincoat will come

            from the east, sit


            quietly with her, though far

            enough away that she can’t

            make out his face or smell

            the tobacco, the cigarette

            he lights.  Like her, he is



            sitting alone, in this busy

            city, and she


            can tell by his raincoat that he’s pleading

            too, and that he believes

            direction will pour down.

Copyright Melanie Cameron, wake, The Muses' Company, 2003

Memory needs

you or it


has nothing, is less


            than the black

            box of night, closed

            indefinitely, less


                        than a never


                        lake, no thing


                        to press against


                                    its cheek, less than rock

                                    unturned, no one


                                    to witness

                                    its shadow beneath, or its pulse


                                    within, absent or too

                                    slow to be

                                    taken.  And you


                                                                        need memory because you need



                                                                        to stay.  That simple.  You




to be, can’t


imagine being,


with you.

Copyright Melanie Cameron, wake, The Muses' Company, 2003