If we stand together beside the lake…

This poem won Third place in the 2003 2-Day Poem Contest

If we stand together beside the lake

on a spring afternoon, the breeze

will hold out its many cool hands

to greet us. And if we lie

down, there, in the evening, our bodies

sheltered together in an open

shell of sand, the many skins

of the breeze will leave

our heat behind, seeking

to beguile

the lake with its return. This assurance, this fumble,

 

toward perfect

balance – barometric, if our pressing

into one another could be

measured. In each others’ arms, we

arrive – complete

inertia, complete rest. The deepest

 

twilight over the lake, purple –

as litmus, or purely as the blood

of lichen torn

from stone – brightens, fades, red, blue, depending,

dipping its edge into the water. Once

 

this lake flowed from itself
into a river into a stream into a cistern into a curving
faucet turned open
by my hands, still and cupped to receive it, though my feet
tapped out a 3/4 time, solo
saraband, and I noted the absent
fourth beat, the fourth season, which opens
leaves, petals, stalks – all the declensions
of Kairo. Now

 

just as we

 

cannot entice the badger into tasting hyacinth and mallow,
along the lake’s shore, nor coax her in
               to burrowing for shelter
               above ground, you cannot keep me
from bending
toward you like tall flowers
in the lake’s breeze, keep me
        from twisting our tangled roots
        around my determined tongue, nor persuade me
               to carve a hole, the shape
               of my body into anyone
               but you. Dancing

 

the slow saraband at lake’s edge in twilight, breeze gone

to caress the water’s skin, you are

the fourth beat, once

missing.

Published online June 01 2003.

Note: In this text, Kairo is an ancient Greek word meaning opportunity, seasonable time, the appointed time, the right and proper time.

This poem was a winner in CV2’s annual 2-Day Poem Contest. Every April, CV2 challenges players to create a new original poem that uses all 10 words of our choosing. It’s poetry under pressure for prizes, publication, and personal bests. Learn how to sign up for the next 2-Day Poem Contest.


Art of the Game cover image

This piece was published in ‘Art of the Game,’ the Summer 2003 issue of CV2.

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