At Dock’s End
The slow ambush of August heat, how the hills blur with it, how the sky wavers. And all the sounds of the world blunted— hum of unseen boats, squabbling gulls. Even the lake’s unsure of its shores if you look far off, past the man who stands in the water holding up his arms to you, waiting, about to count. Already you know every lake is a remnant, what’s left of glacier’s yield when the world turned warmer. You know what rests on its sepulchral floor— silt and stone, claw and husk, lost hooks and lines. You have been there before, playing with your brothers, a game you call Drowning. That benthic roar. Blue eternally. This is where you begin— as breath held in the moment before. When the man says, One two three jump, everything you do next is descent. Even if he’ll catch you, you’re falling.