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Above Burntroot Lake

All day, we pulled the named

lakes, rivers, and creeks

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under our canoes.

By evening, our shoulders and backs

knew where we had been.

But a cloudless dusk drew us

from the early dark of the understory

to wait for what we could identify.

How shy they seemed,

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entering our legendary heaven,

so pale at first, reluctant to become

the misshapen crab or skeletal bull

of our gossipy zodiac.

We called boat to boat,

afloat on ink,

proud with collective knowledge,

until the trees, the lake, all, faded.

We sank into the deep silence

and saw them new,

distant, bright, nameless

by the thousands.

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