Arizona Attorney

July 1997

Fiction, Fine Art & Photo Contest
Second-place Poetry

Canoeing the Penobscot With My Son, 1991
by Barbara Atwood

As we skimmed the surface,
you thought the melancholy loons
were lost children
crying for their mothers
and I promised you I would never die.

Even in late afternoon the light was brilliant
illuminating the stippled river floor
and clarity of thought seemed effortless,
our sense of time
marked only by the dip and pull of paddle.

The water flowed evenly below the gunwale,
reflecting in rivulets the silhouettes of osprey,
rock squirrel, a stolid moose emerging from the thicket.

Floating this route a century ago,
Thoreau wrote that he preferred the blanched and open lakes.
But for me the river was the key,
a lucent tie to something that had run before
or runs beneath,
and the lakes were but a pause along the way.