Posts Tagged ‘lake’

January – Maisons Laffitte under snow.

February – He who jumps off bridges in Paris is in Seine.

March – Arthur leaps skyward.

April – Cinque Terre, Italy. Hiking… it’s only walking… for 7 hours. Bring proper footwear and a bottle of water.

May – Sunset over North Lake, Grand Junction, Michigan.

June – Late night lights on the expressway, Chicago.

July – Urban spelunking, Gary, Indiana.

August – Bean time, Chicago.

September – Welcome to the new bookshop, Austin, Texas.

October – Dim lights for Halloween.

November – This caused injury. Most initiations do.

December – Five days of a white Christmas. New Years Day in short sleeves.

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I remember sneaking up to the attic when my parents slept with their door closed. I’d pull the bed out that the couch turned into and would flop, flipping from side to side, a king in his luxurious court, presiding over all of himself.

And then there was the time Philip came in and my flopping stopped. I’d been caught. Even the squirrels who would rustle back and forth on the roof throughout the night, they stopped too. He looked at me and said he was going out, that he wanted someone to know, just in case, he said. And I said to come home soon or Who cares what you do? I don’t remember which.

And I heard him creak down the stairs on all the ones I knew to avoid and felt the summer night creep in through the window as I heard his footsteps outside.

I was barely awake when he came back an hour later, smelling of lake water and the fullness of a lived summer night.

He came to say goodnight, but this time the crickets were louder than his steps. He sat next to me on the bed, dipping me toward his warm wet weight as the mattress creaked.

“I’ll have to show you stars sometime,” he said to me.

Here’s the thing though: I’ve always been much more cautious.

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You are the one that takes it all away.

The slow sway of the hammock between the trees,

I see it and us and there I’d fight off sleep if for no other reason 

than to feel our weight.


Down below us, far below us, worlds below us, 

dragonflies practice; circle, circle, circle, swoop.

The lake; lapse, lapse, lapse.

It’s your toes, always exploring in your sleep, that bring mine back.

My pinky reaches as the walls around me, the hum of the fan, lawn mowers,

someone left the hall light on,

and our reflection on the water below is far away, worlds away.

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“What do you think you’d call that?” I ask my nephew.

“I don’t know, a horn?” he says putting together a Lincoln log cabin.  

There is a train far off that you can hear every evening when dusk sweeps in, the time before dinner is cooked, after you have the lake water showered off and the canoe is put away, the time that everyone is ten pages into the next chapter or five moves in each to the chess game, another log just got tossed onto the fire and the crickets have just started singing.  It’s then that you hear the train.

“No,” I say.  “Horn is too harsh.  It’s softer than that, more nostalgic, like a remembrance of something lost.”

He stares at me blankly through his thick kid glasses, his hair sticking straight toward the ceiling, lake water and sand still there.  “You’re right.  It’s not a horn,” he says.

“Not a horn,” I say.

“It’s a choo-choo.”

“Yeah, a choo-choo.”

And he’s back to his log cabin as the train is far off and fading.

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A poem for Ellen.

It was that even if we 
never took that canoe ride
and when you did I shouted
to you across the lake about dinner or

And I could hear your oar in the water, breaking
it and your face looking up as I called
to you and you didn’t need to tell me about
the oar
or the sky above you and how the
clouds moved fast or the lillie pad
in bloom because I saw it all

And now, with my tea too
hot and the lint in my pocket soft and
I ball it up, it’s pink and I don’t know
why.  I’d give it to you.

But can’t.

And soon,
there will be far less
explaining to do.

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