Toccata by Joanne Epp

That first lift in the wind, its rough
push that sends you staggering.
That whisk of leaves across the path.
Your hair blown back. A sweeping-out
of dead wood, of melancholy.
Breathless laughter in the gusts
that snatch your voice away.
You meet no one except those two
who turned for home when
they saw the weather advancing.
You notice it then, in a backward glance:
the white wall of cloud. Innocent enough
when you set out, now grown
to mythical size behind your back.
But you relish this, leaning into
the wind, letting yourself believe
it would catch you if you fell. Now
the first growl of thunder. The height
of that cloud, and how far you’ve
kept walking, heedless, still
not as scared as you should be,
this far along the trail, and the skies
about to crack. 

 (after hearing “Symphonie no. 1” by Rachel Laurin) 


Copyright © Joanne Epp.


Joanne Epp‘s poetry has appeared in Prairie Fire, The New Quarterly, Lemon Hound, and The Light Ekphrastic, among others. In 2017 she was second-place winner of The New Quarterly’s Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest. She has published a chapbook, Crossings (2012) and a full-length collection of poems, Eigenheim (Turnstone Press, 2015). She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she is assistant organist at St. Margaret’s Anglican Church.


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