Poets for July : Richard Fenwick, Cheryl D Faison, Emmanuel Sibanda, Laurie Kolp and Peycho Kanev
She dips an oar from an ash canoe
into the lake’s dark surface,
pulls herself toward its center
to push away the past, or
future, or even tonight’s moon.
A fish leaps, concentric circles,
two small branches drift to shore
as her oar cuts deep into the skin
of water, the lake’s thin flesh.
Resting it against her thighs,
she glides until each ripple fades,
and wonders if she should return
to their small white dock
or complete the lonely journey
to the cottage on the other side.
In anticipation of my birthday,
I’ve decided not to scratch my head
searching for perfect nouns, verbs
to fill an empty space on a page.
I won’t worry about modifiers
or similes that refuse to settle in,
or the scolded child of passive voice.
No, today I will sit to admire
the prints on this wall, the map
posted over my cluttered desk
with its question mark of Africa,
its blue seahorse of Japan,
the stingray and its tail made
from the Aleutians and Alaska.
This is where I’ll wait
for my birth hour, which arrives
each year like summer gossip
to promise ten more winters,
an abundance of more gray hair.
I will leave it all behind
to read Whitman or Paz, perhaps
a bit of George Bilgere,
and after we share a sandwich
with Dutch or Belgian beer,
I’ll return alone to my map
where my mouth always waters
as I taste the bone-in ribeye
that is always South America.