Triangle Lake, Midweek, Midsummer
(for Peter, for all the paddles)
Some summer lakes,
if you go there,
if you do not postmark a card
will slide away; no memory
but the faint
unstitching in the ear
where jet skis ripped the water’s belly open
like a four-stroke knife
gutting a rainbow trout.
Fumes of gasoline over any urban pond
may tremble in the back breeze of recall,
but here find Avery,
who was afraid of being towed on a blue rubber raft;
Keenzie, whose father threatened her with cold beer
until she jumped
from the dock;
Annabelle, the narrow black Lab you were told would jump,
didn’t, and licked your hand;
Simon, the wide black Lab who carried an open Coke bottle
on board his master’s fishing boat,
carefully, head up, Simon,
the Coke dog.
Fourteen years ago,
seven years ago,
last year, yesterday, today
we paddle to a far shore wild
with alarmist kingfishers flashing
blue white crested shadows
over open water.
Flat perch shadow dart beneath the lily pads—
we nose our yellow craft up
to the Ruined Dock of Our Former Love,
as we call it, recalling a bar
of melted chocolate and all the sweet
body parts it sweetened;
long swims with children now grown; night
watches for the beaver family—
quiet paddle back
flashlight in the bow.
One Thursday afternoon in June—
lamb chops and tabouli
red Nehalem wine—
we were close then
in our double camp chair,
elbows touching. 8:04 pm, 74°,
extravagant gold light on that far shore,
dark green smell of night water
rising from concentric circles
of silver running out
from the jet skier
towing the screaming children in the blue raft .
Avery, who was afraid,
watches from the dock
Simon is gone;
Keenzie is gone;
Annabelle lifts one last leg
against the steel dumpster,
and Annabelle is gone.
We watch together
until ghost fingers of cold
creep down from the mountains
behind and warn us it’s time to leave.
3 thoughts on “Triangle Lake, Midweek, Midsummer”
Whew, this one raised the hair on my arms. Yikes. The poignant passing of time. Changing of relationship, even with those nearest and dearest to us. Aging. The odd nature of life, momentary and fleeting. We look back in time and suddenly, those who have always been there are leaving, dying.
This is a fabulous poem, one that many will be able to relate to.
Rereading -this poem strikes me as even sadder than before. The last stanza says a lot and it is powerful.
Scary and sad. Someone is going to print this.
Sandy, this is really an incredible poem. The images are both memorable and haunting.