At the Bottom of the Lake

–by Lori Howe


I slide my small, green boat
into the shallows
as the storm comes in,
autumn thunder cracking
to the west,
the light a strange
caught between water
and thick-bellied clouds.

Inside this granite bowl,
all is sound and deep gray
when the wind falls in.

The galoshes
I bought this morning,
too-big and black,
have slashes across the shins
that invite the lake
into the felted hollows
that hold my small feet.

I imagine the man
who owned these boots,
wonder if he still lives,
if he remembers what cut these boots
to uselessness,
not even worth the thrift store dimes
I gave for them, not now,
with the cold, clean lake
cupping my instep
like a ghost.

The surface of the water
is graceful  pewter,
many-folded and elegant,
quiet as elephants.

The arc of each wave
catches the small light
and glows,
round and green as an eye.

Weather pulls its string tight,
and the sky gathers in.
Fingers singing with chill,
I ship my paddle, hands in pockets,
close my eyes and am weightless
as lichen.

Even the aspens, still vibrant
in their draws and coves,
huddle together for warmth
as the storm makes us all up
in its secret gray bed.

2 thoughts on “At the Bottom of the Lake

  1. Reading your poem made me smile – The line,” Fingers singing with chill” will forever stay with me. It will be a new way to think of the ache I feel from having mine frostbitten.


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