Prayer to the Beaver

Prayer to the Beaver
by Gail Hosking

Your small brown head peaks
up between our two canoes,
dives back under, a flat tail slapping
trails of moving water one of us points to
with an oar. We wait in silence
among the water lilies scattered
in the shiny wet pads, the shallows
full in this August season. Patience
brings us to this moment—everything
we’ve ever suffered behind us in the stillness
of an evening’s gloam. Separation suddenly
falls away like a waning moon.
Loons cry in the distance
like they’re mourning the dead. Then
the screech of an eagle, a fledgling
swooping from a giant pine
as we paddle further, our oars peeling
through grasses, with skidders gliding
along the surface. We pause,
anticipating your return
while the sky turns a soft-lavender rose
across the horizon. I could wait
here until the snows cover
your dam. I will remain still all night
as if my life depends on it.




Gail Hosking is the author of the memoir Snake’s Daughter: The Roads in and out of War (University of Iowa Press) and the chapbook The Tug (Finishing Line Press). She holds an MFA from Bennington College. Her essays and poems have been published for years in literary journals and newspapers. She currently works as a freelance editor and writing consultant.