Green Hills Literary Lantern

 

 

Deciding

 

 

Suppose a mother whose children are gone,

looking at the long straight road ahead,

feeling herself invisible and beside the point,

were to step off into the woods, leave a note

that said I don’t want to live without passion;

could she erase herself?  Could she keep blind

to the holes her betrayal would leave

in all the little boats, the way they would sink

slowly over the long years ahead, those boats

she’d made and set afloat in hope?

                                                                Suppose

the woman arrives at the water and finds there

the man she has almost forgotten, waiting for her

in a kayak with red paddles.  And now she gets in

the front and begins to stroke, and they pull together

in silence, dipping and turning, dipping and turning,

two figure eights in the late air, each time she raises

her paddle, the cool water trickling down along its stem

drops in shiny glints on her bare legs, and he,

without speaking, matches her stroke, controls the rudder

with his feet, steers them out onto the glittering green lake

where they see the sun drop behind the tree line, where they see

eleven ducks in a V beyond the trees in the grey pall of a fire

far away in someone else’s wood, and the note she thought of writing

becomes an unremembered dream, and one lone brown straggler,

flying up from the lake beside them, calls its desperate wait, wait

as it lifts across the sky. 

 

 

Gail Rudd Entrekin taught poetry and English literature at community colleges in California for 25 years.  Her third and latest collection of poems is Change (Will Do You Good) (Poetic Matrix Press), which was nominated for a Northern California Book Award.  She is editor of the online environmental literary journal Canary (www.hippocketpress.org/canary.cfm) and Poetry Editor of Hip Pocket Press in Orinda, California.