Sunday, October 9, 2011

Noel's Dock

West wind scuffs the length of the lake
and forces U-shaped ripples
onto shore. Noel’s dock, a gray
tablet, thrusts headlong at the view.
We could launch a little sailboat

into the wind and tack and stagger
uphill to the far west shore, then glide
seamless and uninhibited back
to the dock as the autumn sun drops
into its slot in the hills. The dogs

would rush to welcome us back.
The slop of breezy water
racing us to the sand beach
would mock drinks slurred in glasses
as neighbors gather for a party.

They’d ask how we liked sailing
after Labor Day in wind too cold
for them to brave. We’d grin and shake
hands all around, unabashed
by our out-of-season pleasure

or by trespassing on Noel’s dock.
We’ve no dock of our own to tie up
our boat, don’t even own a boat.
Our property borders a marsh
too sullen to support the flattest

bottomed canoe, so we envy
this long view, this breezy dock
pointed so confidently downlake.
The hills bulked against the south shore
have begun to undress for autumn,

but the larger effect remains warm
enough to invite us to sail
or fish or paddle or swim
or practice that easy drowning
indulged with little regret.