Our footsteps echo
On boards,
As if wearing
Wooden shoes.
Marsh grass, cat-tails
And bull-rushes
All around.
And this two-by-six
Sidewalk meandering
Through the blue-and-green,
Like the face of some
Children’s board game.
I have often told
Daughter Lauren
About this place-Pelee.
(Canada’s southernmost.
Sandy spit of land
On Erie.
Parallel with
California’s latitude.
Gathering spot for
Bird migrations,
Monarch migrations,
Sunday picnics.)
We’ve taken in
The Interpretive Centre,
Electric tram
To Land’s End.
And now the Boardwalk.
With curly-headed
Hard to reign in.
To our daughter
This structure
Must seem endless.
A surprise at every turn.
Two painted turtles
Frozen, sunning on a log.
Muzzle of muskrat
Breaks water, surfacing
From lattice-work
Of lily roots.
“Bobble-TWEE, bobble-TWEE.”
Red-wing perched on
Rustling cat-tail.
Bold black, red
And yellow,
Starkly contrasted
To hazy June sky.
Gulls in miniature,
Distant, in the
Open-water channels.
Movements from
Liquid face to sky
And back again;
Jagged, silent, repetitive,
Like some antique
Motion picture.
Now, up the stairway
Of observation tower,
A staggering thirty
Feet-three landings.
Lauren leading the way.
Grim-faced, like
Sir Edmund Hillary.
Here, a beautiful vantage.
The open lake.
Caressing breeze
Rewards at this height.
Swallows accomplishing
Break-neck acrobatics,
Inches above
Water’s surface,
Harvesting bugs.
One hawk, high up,
Occasionally patting the wind
With curled wing-tips,
Getting the real bird’s-eye view.
Ducks congregating
In some larger
Patches of blue.
Time to relinquish
The platform.
Eager tourists.
Monster-cameras at the ready.
Reluctant to leave.
But one more surprise.
Shadow invisible,
‘Though try we might
To penetrate his lair
Of waving grass.
“BOOM-pleep, BOOM-pleep.”
Dripping tap sound.
Lesser Bittern,
Hunched, humble, hidden
Resident of the marsh.


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