Here twelve lakes lie side by side
all shapes – deep and narrow, flat
Clear reflections broken by
cauliflower clouds, heavy with
my hopes and rain.
Where shall I rest them, where
descend? I raise
my hands to end the cruel hell
of sun-fire blazing, as if hope
were cheap and bright.
These feathers, wisps, my substance,
all conceal the candid strokes;
now I descend.
The petals of this darkness now unfold
as I, the passenger inside my soul,
discover me. We visit
– all my selves and I –
last January’s lake, its surface wild.
So alien a place and time it seems,
its facets, crests, I last glimpsed
in my dreams.
Lake February dry and barely here;
Lake March abloom and bursting lovely,
clear – as if,
as if eternity its depths; its foreigner
my fear. And then
a river-flood for April and for May,
a frothy loud crescendo hailing change:
Over June’s lake there’s a storm,
July is windy; August bright,
its waters deep in blues, but dear, familiar.
(And to think that then I thought
I knew the weight of depth.)
There’s Lake September now; it’s green and good,
but ripples into shards as I approach – and is
a lake of searing fire! That mirage
dissolved. The smoke and sulfur choke
and laugh: I dared believe that there was life
upon my path!
Then, Lake October, drowned in ice, and Lake November
sheathed in fog – I don’t remember
what I felt; I only think that I was there.
Now Lake December, dark and still; perhaps
a mere trick of the light. I thought
I glimpsed something – I’m still
unsure if it was life, if it
was truly seen by sight.
And now – at last – a rainfall, bleeding
healer’s tears. A brief relief,
my segue, to capture what was lost;
a pause, a breath, a thought, a song,
and then, the fiercest feat of all –
to go on.
Written December 2014, Emma Dumitra.
Image from northwestontariomaps.ca.