I miss the reds, jacks, and tamaracks
hunkered on the high banks
of Superior’s shale cliffs
where winter knuckles the pines with ice
and they shadow in the late summer sun.
This feeling is hard
to live with long.
In the deep green before they reached
the shore, the lumbermen cut the pines
away, sent logs afloat
down the Brule and Namekagon,
leaving too much sky.
When they came to the fabled Gitche Gumee,
they put down their saws and axes
to listen for the wind’s thin scream
through the needles, to touch the lichen
on the shade-side bark.
Oh virgin logs, oh high timber skiff
hauled by horses through the necessary snow.
In decades of spring melt, in tremulous winds,
more swinging boughs went down.
I am lost to what happened
and with what remains.