‘Not all canoes are for swimming,’
she insists, with the casual air of one who knows.
‘Some canoes are for flying
flying through rivers of starlight.
Which is why
when we go on vacation
(me and mom and Kristina)
we strap the canoe upside down
to the top of the car:
that way when we get out on the road
where the sky rivers flow,
they pick up the boat and the car
and we soar through clouds together.”
standing lightly on her toes
as though reaching up towards the stars.
‘But how would that work?’ I demand
and she blinks back her confusion.
‘It floats!’ she insists, and her arms burst like rockets.
‘There are rivers on the ceiling
There are rivers in the twilight
And the current grabs the boat
And it and we sail off together.’
‘But it doesn’t work that way.’
As I stamp out my cigarette
she looks at me
her mouth a perfect O
her eyes a question.
‘Because’ I explain
‘If that were to happen
you’d be floating upside down.
You and your sister and your mom
would fall out of the car.
You would die.’
She doesn’t say anything else
but when I leave that night
she wanders out into the driveway
and with upturned face
and quiet restless eyes
peers through the hazy silence
at that other world
whose trees bend down to scrape our own
and at the river people
rowing the winds
amid moonlight and starlight
that she feels sure must be.