The Shore Party
The grill sits with its mouth open
like a child begging for more.
I’ve lost count of the franks we’ve eaten
and the beer we’ve downed. My wife floats
in the water with her friends, their white skin
striped red. When a boat speeds by,
a false tide bobs them like buoys,
and for a while the old conversations
about love lost/found, the fickle
needs of lovers, are replaced with laughter.
Listening to them I’m given a second life
in which I forget the friends I no longer have,
those lost to time, the ones given up to distance.
Not wanting to lose what I now have,
I plot a wooden frame
around our square of lake,
its legs sunk deep in the sandy bottom,
the far end open to the water,
east and west a window
(maybe curtains too); a dock
stretches from the lip of the bank
into the boathouse where hunger will knock,
where winter will sleep.
When I come to my senses, the sad
box where I would have kept them
like singing mermaids gives way
to the aimless mind of the wind
teasing the junipers, skimming
the brown surface of the green water,
nudging the black tubes of the tight circle
of sisters who are not sisters
whose hearts I cannot save. I slip out
of my shirt and shoes. As I wade in
I raise my hand in a sort of wave
as the cold water teaches me humility,
as I deepen the melody of their laughter.
Tomas Q. Morin’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Boulevard, Slate, Poetry Northwest, and Best New Poets 2007. (5/2008)