loons call on the lake and I cannot answer

I have listened to you call to the loons on the lake
since the first time I heard that haunting birdsong
the smell of you is parchment and love:
wood fires, newspaper, wool blankets and warmth
you belong to the misty mornings
when the sun rises silently up over the trees
to touch the world with a soft golden glow
there has been a rasp in your voice
since before I can remember

your hands are soft, but your grip is strong
strong enough to climb the stick-straight pines
that line the shore without a handhold
strong enough to lift me up with every conversation
strong enough to hold a family together

the mist weighs heavily on me now
in a way it never used to
I wonder if you’re out there somewhere
hiking an unseen shore
or are you up another pine tree
clearing stray branches from the view?
wherever you are, I hope it has newspapers to rustle
I hope there’s a wood stove
and a small bedroom with an old TV on the nightstand
I hope the sunrise is magnificent
I hope you have someone to play cards with

loons call on the lake
and I cannot answer
in the distance I hear the echo of your reply