"Lake"

"Lake"

"Lake"

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
Nov. 12 2002 11:30 AM

Lake

Listen to Rosanna Warren reading this poem.

You stood thigh-deep in water and green light glanced
off your hip hollows and stomach which is where the pilot light
flickers in ancient statues of Dionysus,
and for a moment as you strode deeper it seemed as if
this water might rinse away the heaviness
of your own seasons and of illnesses not your own: it was a caress
cool and faithless, it lapped against your waist,
it took you in its arms and you gave yourself, a little,
only a little, knowing how soon and how lightly that touch would be withdrawn,
how soon you would be standing again on the rootwebbed shore, drying, restored
to the weights and measures, pulses, aches and scars you know by heart,
the cranky shoulder, cramping heel tendons, bad knees, bad dreams
you would recognize in the dark, anywhere, as your own;
and you knew, too, how those you cannot heal would remain unhealed
though you reach for them, kiss them on the forehead, and they stare back out of the drift;
and you knew the mountains would continue their slow, degrading shuffle to the sea
until continental plates shifted in their sleep, and this whole lake was swallowed
in earth's gasp, ocean's yawn.