On a foggy day you can’t see across the water to the other island wouldn’t even know it was there on a foggy day— Not even from the cupola On the barn on the hill From where you can see all the way out to Isle Au Haut Not even from the shore edge Where waves speak calmly— Coming in from the thorofare, breaking up against little islands Or sticking on the shoals where the ducks go over Not even from fish point Where they found swordfish bones in an old midden From people who buried their dead with red ochre Lived here ten thousand years, then left —Not even from there Can you see across the narrow water in the fog

On such a day seven geese fly above an eighth, She’s walking alone by waters edge Her wide feet flecked with cloud markings Stops for a rock, listens to her family go by

The fog thins as geese land on the far island Look around for scraps of stuff from last year Bed down in dry grass in a field Keep space around them for foxes (who are no longer here) Thinking only two things: “we are here” “it is fall” ~~

I’ll draw you a map without conveying what it’s like There is a harbor, rock sides A point where an old oak grows Floats where boats are moored Hills sloping up Where people come down to cross the thorofare Sometimes with plywood Other times with lobsters In winter it’s quiet all along the water There’s tension in the empty space between two islands ~~

Late at night a piano plays across the water A sad tune, laced with water The water, lapping on the shore Neither high tide nor low A cold wind, a car driving by And me watching headlights alone in the woods ~~

We came here geese leaving time Trees along the coast still colored from the cold, some brown, no snow We came to paint and write To work the ground To make things grow

Writing, as we go around in a great circle, never complete This island: six miles long I’ve explored every side of it

Looking it over Three miles wide Or is it six by three, or four The ragged edges The rocky beaches Blowdown spruce, white cedar woods Red oak, sugar maple Yellow peely birch in a glade The highest point About seventy feet above The rising ocean ~~

A boat is out in the bay, in the fog Blasting its horn as it goes past the shoals

Its lights blaze ahead, but do no good Nothing can be seen in such dense mist

Guiding by memory, the bearded captain stills the wheel Looking at the map in his mind. ~~