The Burning Eyes of Dragonflies

Ramon Kubicek

Acrylic, oil stick, pen, on canvas

18″ x 24″

A Season of Fury and Pestilence

Adelia MacWilliam

In the pit of our breasts we are together,

in the heart’s plantations we traverse

a summer of tigers. 

Pablo Neruda (Furies and Sufferings


In the core of our being we are one,

in the heart’s homestead we navigate

a season of cougars 

ready to pounce from the shadows. 

Scent of the blood of slain geese

on the farthest out island, nearly submarine, bleached 

with guano and covered with goose feathers,

where the sea is a whip of wash and tide,  

and each of us keeps a boat made of tongues of iron,

and the bones of beached whales. 


You, my adversary of sleep, blankets ripped

to pieces by the moon’s hunting knife, who disturb

my dreams like a wayward tuning fork 

might twist the wires in a piano, who are like a series of explosions

in a garden when the caches of buried nitroglycerin are disturbed, 

you my narrow-hipped enemy, whose ears and neck my cheek has brushed 

with sour pollen – notwithstanding the chilling quiet of the sea 

with its absence of seabirds, waters no longer broken by the fins of orcas,

deep currents empty of salmon and herring – 

in some corner of this season, we are together,

crouched in the shadows of Douglas-fir, consumed by a loneliness

we don’t understand, waiting with dry throats, for this pestilence, 

umbra mundi, to pass. If there could be anyone who can dive through

the rings of phosphorescence left by my paddle 

to round up the last of the remaining chinook in the bay, 

and still each leaf of the trembling aspen, it might be you.  

I also have with me the burning eyes of dragonflies,

who speak to history’s pain with Jurassic soldier mouths. 


When we’re at gatherings on the beach –

Orion’s Belt laid across the bed of the sky, campfire smoke, 

geese swimming, necks jerked by an invisible leash – 

you are there hunting, seeking out lies with your bottle green eyes, 

though you keep your gun hidden in the closet,   

knowing that when you squeeze the trigger, 

the silence will shatter like a champagne glass, 

and the barking wolves in the woods will flee. 

And the knives you use: the stubby one for prying open oysters,

the Swiss army knife for slicing the red wrinkled skin 

of the orchard’s winter apples, or the long one, razor thin,

used to gut the Sockeye caught on your barbed hook, 

(how neatly the abdomen parts),

and your sea anemone feet, with sting ray toes, looking

for undersea caves. Can you smell the wind’s betrayals?

Like an exhausted sea lion 

can you divine the turn in the tide, let it guide you  

to the shore?  Can you witness thunderstorms, watch over lightning

cauterizing wounded ground? Can you string cables up

to keep your house from plunging into the sea?   

And yet,

more, even more, 

behind eyelids, behind closed fists, 

behind the vestments of the forest, beyond otter-stained docks,

behind mountain ranges,

beyond countless journeys you’ve made across inland seas, 

there is no distance, no boundary, 

nor boathook grappling with a drowning soul, 

your hands touch sheets, sails crack,

your hands touch the wind

and you are in Hecate’s straits,

making a furrow in black water’s foam. 

Like a mosquito tasked with a mission

you smell out the shores of the body, the soft parts

where the blue seas of blood become visible.

You shut the floodgates that hold back the dawn, 

caressing the long legs of the moon as she helps you

guide your boat into the channel between the oyster beds.      


Can you smell the clams in the mud,

hear the rubbery creak of the tree frog? They all speak to you

in the voices of your parents. I have hidden your knives 

and buried our kisses in a midden of rain, 

but still I know the burning eyes of dragonflies.


Ah sunlight and crazy forest canopies, 

expanse in which an inlet drowns

like a gypsy in a cul de sac, 

like all the qualities of boiling currents,

ah materials, all the senses, warm blooded sea creatures, 

shaking with blind uncertainty,

ah mountains with serious cheeks and noses and eyes,

great flanks brimming with green sap,

feet of pale granite, and chessboard pieces scattered

onto peninsulas, and rough waves flinging themselves to death

on the rocks again and again, sated with angelic desire, 

And so, this inlet, this inlet runs between us,

and along one bank I run, biting my tongue.  


Am I then, truly isolated

while the burning tide between us flows

during the night? 

How many times have you been the one

without a name, how pulverized in the shadows

by torrential rain?

The image I hold of you

devours the green grass of my heart.

Among the Fallen

Ramon Kubicek

Acrylic, oil, oil stick, pen, on canvas

40″ x 30″

Ghost Wilderness

Adelia MacWilliam

Further up the coast a film crew

 is making a documentary about sea wolves.    

             Near Zeballos I’m guessing               

                   but Annie, their cook, won’t say.

Rumor has it they were hired by the BBC

 but she’s mum on that too. 

This much she’s told us     they got some footage 

                of the wolfpack 

tunneling into a beached grey whale 

to get at the organ meat.


Near the ragged line of flotsam

 on the beach that faces Nootka Island    

pounded by surf from the open Pacific

among smooth stones, spiral shells, 

tangle of seaweed, 

we saw grassy wolf scat next to grassy bear scat, 

a few days old

the wolf scat ropy.


So why poop so close to each other?

Is this their way of communicating?  ​


You’d seen a wolf here years ago

moving like extra-planetary water   

across the beach in front of the cabin–

doglike but clearly not

 dog –trotting on lean legs

loosely sprung beneath gold and silver fur    

         slippery arbutus leaves

glimmered in predawn rain

the crows that usually scrabbled about on the tin roof 

​were ​silent.

​You’d watched​ Brian’s video of the whole pack

crossing the sandbar  

as they tossed ​a​ squealing​ river otter​ 

back and forth like a football    heard

            the howls of the pack   at night   

            from other side of this tiny island  

something in the mournful​​ ​eerie notes of their chorus  

made ​you start up 

         packs of thought-wolves howling across

your ancestors’ minds 

had left spoor   with a half life 

in your marrow


and then this 


passing through  


you peered down in awe. Where from?

Visiting its trapline?   

Were left chewing away at the electric bone 

of what was on offer in that 

lean wolf light.


Indian paintbrush on the grassy knoll       

wind-blown surf froths below us

shunting the freight of the open Pacific. 

A sea otter spy-hops to look at us- 

glistening dark fur

as it dives.


We gumboot hop from lava rocks

into another tiny cove.


“Hey Mr. Bear!”

Whoop, whoop, whoop, 

kai yai

 to warn him we are coming.


On the sixty kilometres of 

altitude combined with attitude

 gear down 


that is the dirt road 

to Tahsis 

where Shannon met you with her boat

you passed two logging trucks

carrying sawed-up old growth trees

up and out.

            Hundreds of years 

            of growth being cargo-ed out 

no more nesting, foraging, no more deep-rooted 

community of cedar and fir giants,

no more rain forest.


They’re gutting the cathedral one truck load at a time. 


Why not leave these trees to die a natural death

among their kin? Is this some kind of

 transgenerational trauma

              being visited

 upon the forest?   


When the Europeans came here

they were already numbed by trauma,

nature illiterate,

most of their deep wilderness gone.

Those first explorers traded

trinkets for skins, 

stayed in First Nations settlements, 

walked their trails, 

used them as guides, 


But once they had a foothold, they

sent their emissaries of darkness

to wage war, messy genocide

  • wiped out the bison, the Pronghorn deer 

and the grasslands too, and now 

the great forests, right up 

to the edge of the Pacific.


Ironic to have Europeans

paying film makers to capture footage

of one of the last surviving packs of wolves

to be viewed like a curiosity.


Gary Snyder says, “A ghost wilderness 

hovers around the entire planet, …

millions of tiny seeds of the original vegetation

are hiding in the mud

on the foot of an artic tern

or the dry desert sands

or in the wind.”


Think, think  

those thought wolves that trot through ancient trees

in the periphery of your mind 

caught in the crumbling edge

of our last frontier, 

can you see them turning to look at you 

one last time before they disappear

into the ghost wilderness?

It Will Show Through

Ramon Kubicek

Acrylic, oil, oil stick, pen, on board

24″ x 30″


Adelia MacWilliam

Poetry Text


Stories Under Water:

Submerged Buildings of Cumberland’s Chinatown

Ramon Kubicek

Acrylic, oil, oil stick, pen, on board

24″ x 30″


Adelia MacWilliam

Poetry Text


Wolves on the Way Home

Ramon Kubicek

Acrylic, oil stick, pen, on canvas

24″ x 36″


Adelia MacWilliam

Poetry Text