Great Wass Island, Maine

The blue blazes are on every tenth tree along the path in the boreal forest peculiar to this island. We pretend it is wilderness, that no boy scouts with paint pots have preceded us.

 Riotous moss of high summer
 Waves every shade of green.

 Lichens clothed in simple celadon
 Hug glacial erratics,
 Or, like antic cauliflower,
 Bunch in vegetable bouquets.

Off the rocky balds, we tunnel through stunted pine and scrub blueberry, watching our feet. To walk this path is to study tree roots.

Gnarled roots like branches
 Upthrust from earth.
 We walk as in the canopy
 From limb to limb.

 Amidst low lichen
 A filamentous mushroom
 Flares its caramel cap.

The path ends. We are out of the woods. An ancient landscape stretches in brown boulders and rock pools to a sea of tranquility at low tide, embraced by conifer promontories. The land is sublimating salt spray and pine.

My daughter dips her tangled hair
 Into a tidal pool
 As she yanks tangled sea weed.

 Minnows dart between
 Periwinkles gripping pitted rock.

 Lobster buoys in open water
 Past the crying gulls.

 Rank hides of kelp
 Make boulders mammoths.

 My family dots the horizon.
 When the tide comes in,
 We would be on separate islands.

Laurie Joan Aron

If you've any comments on this poem, Laurie Joan Aron would be pleased to hear from you.