In the dining room of what was once
our cottage, my brother lifts his glass,
half-filled with iced tea, into a shaft
of sunlight. Amber liquid sparkles,
the color of a good day melting
into evening. He looks through the liquid
and remembers my grandfather
holding his own glass in the same way
in this familiar room
in this house
on a treasured island
in the St. Lawrence River.

My brother smiles. He is surrounded
by people who once shared our table,
hearing echoes of their voices:
the rumble of uncles, cousins laughing
on their way out to fish;
my grandmother telling the future she sees
in the mystical leaves of tea.

The light shifts; the voices die.
My grandparents fade into shadow.
My brother lowers his glass
but his eyes are still on the light:
“Beautiful,” he says.