At First, We Are Drawn

At first, we are drawn to the lakeshore as if
to sit at the glass edge of a smooth and wide mirror
in which to marvel at ourselves, and the lake
obliges. All day, our heads are haloed with the blue
heavens. Our reflections prove we can levitate.
Winds blow. All day, we look at ourselves and are miracles. 

By late afternoon, years have passed. The orbs of our faces
begin to burn. We feel ourselves growing older. The lake
tugs at our skins, our bones dragged like the clappers of bells
ringing in the evenings of our lives. We start
to feel gravity in the waters and are drawn to it.

Furrowed and tired, we come to the shore
wanting to be made strange to ourselves, and the lake
obliges. Our bodies at sunset are orange and smeared, jagged
across the waters to a faraway shore. We are afraid
of the darkness on the other side we stretch toward.

But the moon rises. We look again at our-
selves, the cool droplets of our faces luminous
in the wake. We see the minnows in our eyes
that have always been there, hair of lake grass. A turtle
scuttles its olive head to the watery pillow.

We sleep. And nightly return to the waters that both disrupt
and reveal us. We float on our quilted boats, buoyed by
the patient constancy of the world beyond ourselves. The lake
in the silvery dark, heavy and flocked with creatures
who breathe in deep what drowns us.

Cynthia Marie Hoffman