Running downstream on high water
you don’t have to muscle the paddle;
just knife it in the current to stay straight.
When a whirlpool roils to the surface
your body flexes and veers with the boat.
Watching the shore go by:
red granite, white birch bark,
the bronze-green thickets of trapper’s tea
your mind drifts.
Where the river widens into a lake
you start working again,
and step back into the world;
searching for the next portage
or a good camp site,
thinking about supper.
Look at that raven playing with the wind:
his mind isn’t penned in
by deadlines and maps,
his body’s not burdened with tools.
Setting his wings,
he swoops, and gives us the eye.
Flapping them twice,
he climbs, clears the timber
perches in a jackpine snag,
talks to us as we float past.
For him, the sky is water.
Clouds mark the currents
of the rivers he runs.