by David Adams
My kayak glides into December
like a bright red blade in a landscape
faded grey and brown and green beneath
a sky that hovers like a single cloud
as edged and delicate as mica.
Yesterday I watched my mother slap
her palm against her heart and fix her eyes
hard into her mother’s century—
shawls billowing chenille and silk,
a row of glads lake acolytes
leaning from a breeze that cannot end.
Hoe strangely might the World insist…
There was a chord with someone’s name.
There was a vase that spilled its prayers;
they rolled like candles. They were stars.
A string of gleaming decoys spin and bob
unnaturally in the freshening wind.
All brands of hope float here in ways
so small you’d think that living any life
at all was just a matter of addition.
But the mergansers are not fooled
and cluster near the dam far out of range.
I can hear the whispered curses in the reeds,
and I remember that the reedy hours that wave
and ring us all our lives hold every
whisper ever heard or lost or dreamed….
In the middle of this water I just stop
and feel the drift to stillness nearly perfect
but for me, balanced on an edge so fragile
between acceptance and tomorrow
as the wind and waves ripple into agitation.
It can be too late for wonder.
Still, to feel blessed just now…who knows?
The paddle dips and pulls,
a breath of water tracing the parabola
towards the longer lights of winter,
towards home, wherever that is.