We carried our canoes, scripture, dry shoes.
Our guide wore a sun hat, secret pockets,
eight campers teetering on the precipice 

     of becoming. In the morning with our sleep eyes
we sipped our sticky, girl tongues. Each day
the river, kingfishers, flat paddles ruddering.

     We moved downriver a ripple at a time, putting up
our dome tents at dusk in a circle of sorts,
poking sticks in the hallelujah campfire.

     She understood green, the miracle of
photosynthesis, sunlight converted to plant
energy, contemplating a full five minutes 

     the whorl of a fern. Even the sun buzzed,
waiting to portage. We ate green: pine needle tea, 
plaintain salad. She taught us how to live 

     inside the earth's sheer sleeve. 
I grew strong that summer. On the starriest night
we camped in the river's valley, listening to the

     fire's crackle, whip-poor-wills calling shore to 
shore. We all need saving, she said, 
even the birds.