All day, we pulled the named
lakes, rivers, and creeks
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,
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.