We’re canoeing the Boundary Waters
in northern Minnesota, my daughter
in the stern, a nautical map
open on her knees. She steers us
towards the east end of the lake
while I watch for danger
from the bow. I’m good at this.
Boulders! I shout. Fallen tree!
She avoids boulders and trees,
gets us to the portage at Parent Lake,
slick with mud from yesterday’s
downpour. I hoist on my pack
and keep my eyes on the path,
looking for roots, slippery,
the unsteady stones. Red flag
of hair escaping her bandana,
Abby carries our canoe
upside-down on her shoulders.
Beaked hazel, she calls back to me.
Bunchberry. Spotted coralroot.
Note: This poem will appear in Wendy’s new manuscript, Dinner for Emerson, forthcoming from Tiger Bark Press.