B, B, B…by Karla Linn Merrifield

B, B, B…

“There is no feeling more pleasant, no drug more addictive,
than setting foot on virgin soil.” – E.O. Wilson

In the alphabet of my Maritimes summer,
I’m preoccupied with B.

It’s the bunchberries’ fault.
Their scentless ivory blossoms

bewitch me with pale, cruciform petals
above a cross of leaves,

the cardinal points
of my estival compass

this journey north and east where
B leads not to C but to another:

the Bog. The bog’s beckoning

in August seduce me to slog;
sink both feet into peat-moss,

a brown befuddlement up to my shins,
breathing bog, pure bog.

Breathing dwarf larch and orchids,
and lichen, odorless, clean.

I’m baffled I can step away, venture
beyond the subtle beauty of the bog, but

I do.
A bay beckons,

a blue bay
of blue whales.

The biggest beast this blue globe
has ever known knows me.

Baleine bleu beguiles
with the greatest breath.


the Bs of New Brunswick and Bay of Fundy
behind me. I make it to

the Bay of Gaspé;
I reach land’s end; I plunge—

because of the bunchberries,
the bog, the bay, the one true blue whale.

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