By the Lakeside

Walking near a shoreline we’ve known in times

when the world craved water more than anything

save for the burning bush of late day light and leaves,

my heart sank deep in a fern-fed inlet

brimming with molecules of darting minnows dancing

in the slowly parting wake of a Wood Duck’s goodbye float.


To such a setting, shimmering with sun scales

blown and scattered on the mirror of the liquid lake

where all is mute but wooded whispers and wind-fingered eddies,

I bring a sundry collection of all that is me,

fluted voices singing strange quarter tones,

fiery tongues reaching through stacks of limb-shaped shadows.


I feel compelled to set up camp here, on a low and level plot,

a mossy pallet walled with sandstone and red oak roots –

the perfect place to sit in civil disobedience, or else

to drain the backwash out of all my nearly – empty hopes.


Looking out over this mirage of light alive on water’s warmth,

my gaze lands in the great blue crook of a Heron’s neck –

the lines of that spirit bird lead me to the source

of swelling tears and unsung morning shaped-note hymns;

something in me stirs, stretching toward the circle to take a hand.


The motion quickens in me like a dragonfly’s wing.

My heart floats up from its muddy hull –

paddling, pumping, preserved.

The water wades to meet me all in spindly – legged wonder.

Through a gathering of bulrush and cypress knees

I can see your lifted arms, and am

caught up with you in this days’- end dance.


No more tethered in the net of people time

we swim and swirl, changing partners with the sun and stars.

Hand in moonlit hand we go,

headed back home by a different way.



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