Two Poems, by Sue Chenette

The Treasure of Namakagon

This novel filled with lakes and pines,
young man in a logging camp, wise Ojibwe chief.

My mom asleep in the next room, memory
fled to dreams. She’ll wake, still, to the December morning.

Comfort is the lumpy Sealy, heavy blue wool, pillow,
good loggers sure to topple King Muldoon’s rapacious crew,

plot following a whiffletree to happily after. Oh,
for this warm lull to last against chill.

*

Beneath the pull of plot
drop into plodding snow

an axe there, wedge and kerf, booze and fists, feasts.
“Blackbirds” in calked boots risk floating logs.

His life and his, and hers, and his – the boy
who brings the flaggins to men cutting in the Pinery –

hauled into the thrall of story. Lumber to carpenter an arc,
wood to keep us warm.

Snow

blanket the grass
blanket rooftops
soften the windshield, the hood of the car
dapple the round brown hydrangeas
smooth a cover over periwinkle and euonymus
assuage the red maple, its tatter of colour
quilt the fallen leaves with traceries of white
sleeve the bare limb
calm juddering twigs with a light weight
carpet the street’s rutted asphalt
erase edges
soften, linger

ease our return to world’s
brick and knotted branches


Sue Chenette, a classical pianist, poet, and editor, grew up in northern Wisconsin and has lived in Toronto since 1972. Her most recent books are Clavier, Paris, Alyssum (Aeolus House, 2020), and the documentary poem What We Said (Motes Books, 2019), based on her time as a social worker in Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.