The Departure

He sunk his wooden oar into Cavanaugh Lake
and said the air smelled like muddied November leaves
and something burnt. Beyond our rowboat
the glass-eyed moon made silent our departure,
so I cupped my beer bottle between mitted hands
and listened to someone’s whistle from shore.

That night I lay awake with a look to the sky
and traced a moving satellite with my finger
listening for the sea, or rather,
the wind of a not too distant Great Lake,
living now a glacial ancestry. Remembering
the dunes and the rise and fall
of my own young lungs climbing the first big hill.

In the rowboat, we muscle through the black water;
mud creatures and pale faced. Our dark-eyed circles
deepening. A steady pace toward the
browning of our lives, away from the safety
of the shore, and only the glass-eyed moon
to guide our departure.


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