We woke, heard Mum and Dad singing, snuck out
to watch them dance. Spotting us,
they emptied homemade vino
on our heads, rubbed it in, washed
it out with more. Dad’s beard smelt warm.
Mum went barefoot in our moon-wet
orchard. Both laughed as they swamped
us in yellow wine.
That was then: no rules except
Unsupervised, we kids
squeezed through otters’ dens; plucked
old wren-nests like puffy cheeks
off twigs. We spooked nighthawks drowsing
in day-baked bracken, stroked the inflating
and deflating flanks of snakes in the dozy
Less sleeping now, less dreaming.
After naps we swapped visions, spoke of
suns dividing at dawn to deasil the sky
on mirrored arcs, remerge at the far
horizon. There were always more apples
to peel, more trout to hook in the clay-banked
We get used to the basement
apartment, the sirens and headlights
crossing twill curtains as books-on-tape talk
us to sleep. Floors creak overhead. Tape seals
panes of spidered glass. What happened
to our orchard? We were still children then,
doing what we were told. My brother
and I fight over what to watch, who’ll play
on the PC. We live like that. Skate
behind the strip-mall. Feed M&Ms to rats.
On his grandmother's side, Daniel Cowper goes all the way back to HBC fur-traders and their native wives, back in the day before there was any border at the 49th parallel. He grew up on Bowen Island, in British Columbia, and after living in New York and Toronto, for a cumulative seven years, he has moved back to Bowen Island. Daniel now works in Vancouver, BC.