Erin Wilson

Erin Wilson poet

The Distance


I dream of gathering tinder, making fires
a simple dream

My body will not let me

I dream of picking berries, planting vegetables
a simple dream

My body will not let me

I dream of swimming, dancing, sitting on a stone
a simple dream

My body will not let me

I dream of holding a baby
a simple dream

My body will not let me

I dream of lying on the earth
a simple dream

My body replies, some day


A letter:

I went to bed last night with such a longing to chop wood, tend a little fire, and make coffee, etc., like the young couple in the homesteading video. I have yearned so intensely for fires, and for so long, the intimacy of wood fires, like I used to make. But now, being economically removed from affording a home, a wood stove… Well, that is one distance. And then there is the body. There is always the body. You know, just to bend, and light bark and wood, and sit near the burning… And some days, I know you will understand this with the most profound grief, it is such an ache to not be allowed to do something so simple, to crouch, to be near, to not be in pain. It is like having a hand at the end of the arm, but the hand is continents away. Or the hand exists on another planet. There is no way to achieve the hand.

Going Back

in the summer-thick

turn a branch to pass

turn a page
in the book of leaves


Travel blindly
at the fern’s pace

and if not the fern’s pace
then the tree’s

and if not the tree’s pace
then the soil’s

and if not the soil’s pace
then stone’s


out of your
human clothes

stand naked
beneath the white pine’s
wind-tossed needles

that pull
the great trunk along
with shining horse-strength

ERIN WILSON’s poems have recently appeared in Vallum Magazine, Tar River Poetry, The Shore, Verse Daily, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Her first collection is At Home with Disquiet; her second, Blue, is about depression, grief and the transformative power of art. She lives in a small town on Robinson-Huron Treaty Territory in Northern Ontario, Canada, the traditional lands of the Anishinawbek.

More by Erin Wilson:

Author’s Website
Poem in The Honest Ulsterman
Poem in The Shore
Poem in Under a Warm Green Linden