by Parker Towle

Fog rose off the still lake
like wisps of flame. Two hundred feet
from shore we were on instruments, in trust

to a compass resting on a bed roll: an hour
with no direction, no idea, swallowed
by the other, not in dark but rather

in a vague receding white. When it thinned
by a sun you could stare right at,
the far shore came out—

mirage, and a bald eagle
soared over swamp grass and
lit in a bare-limbed tree.

Not poetic license, this is true. Her
scruffy adolescent chicks groomed
nearby, not anywhere either, but

Umbagog Lake. By then we were singing
Harry Chapin’s Taxi and A cat’s
in the cradle, a silver spoon…

Three generations in
an old green canoe fishing
the depths of a family.