by Joyce Wilson 


Lovers who must identify the stars,
we talk about the difference 
between loons and cormorants.

Both are black, both dive,
but the latter has a straighter profile,
no white revealed

when it flies, and none
of those eerie, punctuated cries.
You do not want

to believe that the birds rising
up before the prow of our boat
are the same birds 

that holler from the woods.
Arenít loons reclusive,
unwilling to be seen

while cormorants are difficult to scare?
Isnít witnessing the ascent of a loon
like discovering a treasure?

We scan the seas for silhouette or code
to relieve the vast expanse 
that comes between us, 

what we know and cannot know.

Copyright © 1999 by Joyce Wilson. 


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