L. A. Johnson


We rouse before sunrise,

slink down to the lake
through fennel and columbines.

Loud hours left our canoe waiting.

With two oars, we push onto the water
easily, how an axe splits a worm.

I wear a difference. Our eyes adjust

to shadow: the outlines of trout
motionless beneath the surface.

The wind crosses the black water.

I lean my face onto my hand.
A silver trophy, I could drown here.

Lake water, threat and stillness.

The way we know each other
has changed. With the sun below

the horizon, we row either forward
or backward—I do not know which.