It is past midnight, and the midwife
is crossing the frozen lake.
Out in the middle she weaves her way
among darkened fishing shacks
where before dawn ice will freeze a membrane
over each chopped hole. A sky
of northern stars casts its watery shadow
over her dark form stepping ashore,
merging with the hedgerow. While a mile
beyond the next crossing
someone chops ice, lights a fire,
keeps an eye out for her arrival;
and from deep in unchartered sky a star travels
like a decoy through dark and infinite space,
its pale aquatic eye
brimmed with first light.