Stephen Robertson

Slanting Lines

Emerald Lake

The winding trails

through forests waking to the spring

intersect or fork.  Some of these meeting-points

are signposted with names and distances

that only roughly match the map.  At others, though,

we have to guess.

The woods are full of streams,

swollen with spring melt.  But an old pine forest

always provides a bridge.  The trunks

of fallen trees, fresh from the winter’s storms

or long since stripped of bark, criss-cross

the forest floor, streams and all.

A seven-mile climb

brings us to a hidden jewel lake,

soup-spoon-shaped, still half-covered

in slowly melting ice.  On the far side

the steep snow-covered slopes rise up

to rampart rock walls, knife-edge against

the deep blue sky.  We take our boots off,

dip our feet into water clear and achingly cold,

and dry them on warm rock.