We knew the lake as children, ate whitefish
caught in cold early morning nets, fish fried
over wood coals in the cottage kitchen.
We saw the lake as children, skirted the shore
to climb the fire tower and seal the door
against bears, trundling through the grass below.
We felt the lake as children, easing feet
over sharp rocks, dashing through Siberian
waters, sword-like on our sensitive skin.
We stand, no longer children, in sadness
on warm sand, where once we picnicked at dusk,
campfire blazing against the Northern night.
We gather as adults in bright daylight,
passing among us the square pasteboard box,
lifting the seal to peer at its contents.
We shake it in turns, freeing the gray grains
into the vast blue-green Lake Superior,
cold, agate-edged, our brother’s resting place.