If we stand together beside the lake…

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

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


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