(for Bill Harrold)

Why should it happen
that the smallest
zig-zagging black cricket
one stick leg raised—
a musician’s baton,
holds and then releases
the same song
as my canoe paddle
slicing into glass?

Boundary Water’s evening lake
still, mirroring
like memory doubles
you here and gone
now leaning akimbo
a cricket musician
message encoded in meter
in the rhythm of my own arms
paddling side to side
as if I could find you
in the funnel of each stroke
in the blue sluice of time.

And light grabs my breath again:
peering into that one space
where ledge rock dissolves into color
cascades grey and rust and lichen green
effortlessly transforming at water’s edge
tumbling headlong into repetition
unfolding mirror image
into the depthless eternity of reflection
until, in that moment, I forget
which side of vision
is mere reality.

And that this bent black line of insect
can sing
and more—that every chirp should count
in precise degrees
just how cold is loss.

from Apprenticed to Justice, (Salt Publishing, 2007)