Rosebud, Alberta is a tiny hamlet of less than 60 people. However, during the year it boasts thousands of tourists who come through its rustic, historic streets to browse, shop and enjoy the museum, mercantile, art gallery and dinner theatre. I worked here many years ago. It remains one of my favorite places on earth. Visit sometime…you’ll understand why.
This deceptively sleepy town,
like an anthill grows ever busier with proximity.
I shove an itchy, needy nose deep
into her business and am rewarded
with friendship’s long embrace.
Her longer history kisses my eager self
with the open mouth of years and paint-peeled time,
the salvaged montage of a community’s coming and going.
Akokiniskway, river of roses,
how quietly you drag yourself along
and leave nary a trace
but birch, poplar, ducks and deer
to share this sojourn.
Your listless demeanor belies your
curious purposes, sometimes lost from sight
but never from memory.
Hallowed, leaning light caresses these hills,
parading their greens and haunted haunches
with souls of soil-soled shoes,
long lost from this place.
Mercantile, full of this and that,
the brick-a-brack of bent and browsing tourists,
their interest in what to take, not what’s left behind,
still less what lies ahead.
Gazing through the bent and mottled glass
of this old hotel window,
these crooked, slanty floorboards
joke with me and, together, we await the 12:03 train,
C.P.R.’s gift to unity and boyish dreams.
Today, my pen sings a ready song,
ripe with thoughts of tomorrow’s day before this one –
a union of then and thence,
where and wherefore.
Ink and paper kiss to re-member
and reminisce in rose-colored, glossy touch of summer.
Here, I wrap her in rapture and nuance
and concentric circles of time,
and shoes worn thin,
still walking these prairie shores, these river valley roads,
Alberta’s broad bosom, face of flush-ed,
Kiss them, I say.
Steal from her what she readily gives and, together,