by Michael Lee Johnson
I own a gate to this prairie
that ends facing the Rocky Mountains.
They call it Alberta—
trails of endless blue sky
asylum of endless winters,
hermitage of indolent retracted sun.
Deep freeze drips haphazardly into spring.
Drumheller, dinosaur badlands, dried bones,
ancient hoodoos sculpt high, prairie toadstools.
Alberta highway 2 opens the gateway of endless miles.
Travel weary, I stop by roadsides, ears open to whispering pines.
In harmony North to South
Gordon Lightfoot pitches out a tune—
With independence in my veins,
I am a long way from my home.
PHOTO: Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. Photo by Wolfgang Zenz, used by permission.
NOTE: Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, is the largest national park within Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. Spanning 4,200 square miles, the park contains glaciers, springs, lakes, waterfalls, mountains, canyons, limestone caves, and fossils. The park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including elk, caribou, moose, red fox, mule deer, white-tailed deer, porcupine, lynx, beaver, marten, river otter, mink, pika, grizzly bear, coyote, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, black bear, timber wolf, hoary marmot, cougar, and wolverine. In 1984, Jasper National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
PHOTO: Elk, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. Photo by Brigachtal, used by permission.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I lived for 10 years in Canada during the Vietnam era.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Lee Johnson is a poet in Itasca, DuPage County, Illinois. He has published in 1,098 small press magazines in 40 countries, and appears in 215 YouTube poetry videos. His honors include two Pushcart Prize nominations for poetry in 2015, a Best of the Net nomination in 2016, and two Best of the Net nominations (each) in 2017 and 2018.