This entry is part 1 of 15 in the series Ridge and Valley: an exchange of poems


Dear Dave,

The lake is half drained
and now looks like the mud
puddle of some enormous child.
Where water slid away fast, cracks
appear, as does the detritus
of our living. Geese find
the few places fish still swim,
and killdeer have set up home
near the cinderblocks and tires
that once served as nests
of another kind. Tree stumps
line the lakebed, solid despite
their years underwater. I imagine
this grove before any saw cleared it,
before the stream at the far side
was dammed, before this depression
in the earth accepted the weight
we filled it with. A blue jay
in an ash tree sneers at our efforts,
and I smell the harsh smell
of wet earth drying.

Todd Davis

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4 Replies to “Lake”

  1. I saw a “puddle just like this one last weekend, both it and the adjacent woods being cleared for another trophy mansion. Many communities have now become sprawl developments. Our dog Kestrel, a Sheltie, knows better in contrast to some human types.

  2. I like your series of guest writers, Dave. And this work, in particular, pleases. Clear, non-sentimental but emotive. I like the idea of play gone wrong at the get go.

  3. The letter as a conversation between poets is perfect for blogging, where it’s simple to click back and forth to understand how the poems have shaped themselves. This one brings to the pond and makes me feel like I know the place, as if it were a mud hole near my own home.

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