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An Ode…A Shiver…A Loon

By Rebecca Damron, February 16, 2024

The author fly fishing on the Root River. (Submitted photo)

An Ode…A Shiver…A Loon


Birth Order, An Ode to My Sister

As Canada geese migrate south 

in an unbalanced V

changing order, 

So have we been. 

Early on, our birth order morphed.

My eldest status and your middle child reversed

Your teenage self, caretaking 

a sick younger sibling who

called out for you, not me

in the middle of the night.

I wandered into adulthood, while

you, grounded, created a family

first, and put us all first.

Really, it matters less.

Birthright, that is, for girls.

Deemed important for

Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau,

King Charles crowned at age 74.

Well, marriage order mattered

for Leah and Rachel as

Jacob worked seven years for elder Leah,

another, seven for preferred sister Rachel.

For us, though, 

firstborn status shifts

opaque to the world. 

Now, our autumn lives turn

browns and rusts, 

yellows and blazing orange

and nature calls us to migrate

Each swaps out—drafting,

catching her breath, conserving energy

while the other wings aloft, 

tempering the inevitable bite 

of winter for her sister.



You must know that we 

stayed at the lake and

one cool evening the

eagle swooped down 

out of the tree in front of 

the cabin and glided out 

over the lake where the loon

and her chicks were bobbing

gently over the waves

caused by the paddles of

our kayaks and also the

swelling rings glowed pink with

the radiant strands of light

that streamed through the

striated slivers in the evening

clouds and the perch and

the northern began to hit

at the edges adding to the 

gathering turbulence our 

clumsy crafts absorbed and 

we may have been oblivious

but for the ancient invisible

ripple that holds us all together

loosely and yet present

in one small shiver.



My kayak paddle makes small 

splashes in the quiet

of a late October morning

generating a flickering of

double foliage flames 

at once licking a mirror lake 

and etching orange-red- 

golden outlines against 

blue crispness that

burns beyond the retina

a lucidity by which

the black outline of 

a loon skidding up

off the surface startles

and wonder how I could 

have ever been confused. 


     © Rebecca Damron 2024




Rebecca (Becky) Damron’s move to Lanesboro is a return home to the Upper Midwest after many years away. She owns Driftless Fiber Arts in Lanesboro.


Root River Current’s coverage of literary arts is made possible, in part, by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.

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