Say, how deep is the long lake, we asked a she-eagle
who rose above the water like a great kite or parasail
in the shape of a girl with wings. A fisherman says she
built her nest this summer on the shore of a lagoon
where the lotus patch ends. She hunts on the perimeter,
dives with talons beyond the lotus roots, a crux of lilies
moored in dark, tangled wilderness beyond loosestrife,
crayfish, and a handful of mystery snails. She-eagle
is larger than the male. She shows her child how to dive
by dipping her talons in the water. Does she know
the depth of this long lake on the edge of the world
where voices echo around the bend like questions
behind a doubt, the wind sidling through a door?
So, it isn’t about the lake: our curiosity is about lack—
how we cannot see a thing all the way to the bottom.
It’s not a glass boat or sonar navigation. We stand up
and walk to our knees, our shoulders, then our chins,
and stroke our way with bladed oars of fleshy bone
swimming in their own inner seas. How far down—
up to thirty-one feet—yet we sing without sounding
what lies beneath. We fly without feathering air:
we float without seeing everything under the sun.
A she-eagle shares the fish she clasps in the wave
with her child and asks for nothing else, her mind
sealed from the world of metaphor and human
language as the water pours forth its glad speech,
inviting our she-eagle to ply the depths for perch—
with bold jubilance in praise of God’s provision.