Complines on Lower Saranac Lake
We bid our hosts goodbye, then tie
the flashlight to the bow and paddle perfect j-hooks,
vowed to silence like Trappists, our vessel
cupped by the black surface of the Saranac at midnight.
Neither of us speaks in the night made holy by the prayers of loons and
the vaulted ceiling of constellations.
We look back at our friends’ campsite nestled high on the lumpy island.
The embers of their fire twinkle,
the scent of roasted corn, like incense, is suspended in the air.
Arriving back at our own island, we pull the canoe up and turn her over
on her stomach, like a baby, patting her with gratitude.
Tomorrow night, for dinner, our friends will row to us,
visiting our damp triangle of a tent, admiring the view,
walking the fifty paces around our little sanctuary.
They’ll bear blackberries for dessert and nootkatone for the no see’ums.
And so it goes, back and forth, a short sweet week
in the quiet, borrowed neighborhood
of a sacred lake.