A half-hour climb and our world
was gone … poplar, maple,
below us sycamore marking
the creek, crushed wintergreen
and mountain laurel sweet
around us, wind masking
the cars we knew moved
behind the ridge, empty sky.

Waded downstream
an hour, reached the lake
and made camp without speaking.
What could we have said?
"Those are fish."?
"My feet are cold."?
"I love you."?
All true enough.

When the earth's shadow
nearly covered the moon
I stripped and swam
out along the trail of light.
Sneezed and spluttered
in the mountain water—and it was dark.

No shore, no sky, no trail, only water,
only cold, only me in the night, bobbing
for a while up and down.
I knew the moon would be back
without me, knew crocus would bloom
next spring right where they bloomed
when the phone rang
with my father's heart attack,
knew the Sisters would spin
faint into the sky
and out again behind
the city's lights, knew
the sun would find the world
unchanged—

and the sky filled with stars.


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