Lake

Opaque surface, mirror to only
rain and the necks of boats
made to look like swans—

I had never seen
such birds themselves
threading the glossy mud

beneath the arms of willows,
never seen their pristine
white galvanizing the fog—

What they say
about this place is myth
if not marketing—

The deer, their salt
craving, the way form
supposedly stays

the same beneath a changing
surface. The gold bands once worn
by women around their necks,

their forearms; the floating rib
a gold conjecture: like opulence,
embellishment, the empty space

filled suddenly with riches
not even anticipated. Today the water
is thigh-high: theoretically, no one

could really fall out of a boat and drown.
But every limit has its soft elastic,
its emergency exit. The merest idea

inked out, improvised, is charming.
But what do I really know,
having left a long time ago?

 

In response to Via Negativa: Mute.

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