by Julian Day

The middle of the west, an easy trapezoid,
derided by the uninitiated as a long drive, the gap
between Calgary and Winnipeg; a province of winter
rye and wheat, a place you plan to leave
but always come back to, eventually.
There’s beauty in its lack, in what’s wide open,
whether the sky or the sharptail’s refusal of it;
and to truly understand, head south out of Saskatoon,
so that as you dip through the dry valleys
you’ll feel something else start to fall away.
Keep driving.  Take the turnoff to Cypress Hills,
and once the farmland ends
you’ll see cliffs and ridgelines, stands of poplar,
and it’s here, they say, that the glaciers stopped
briefly, exhausted, to survey their work;
and where you too, looking out from your car,
will find you slow down gradually,
the landscape revealed, its details sharpening,
until like the glaciers, you’re finally impelled
to pause.

— from Juniper Volume 3, Issue 3