End of Term, Upper Lake

Paper boats; the three of us shivered
in the wind off the sleeping lake,
birthday candles the only light
in the dark glass-and-tree world.
The boats drifted, radiant white, unconsumed
by the water that supported them.

We crouched at the shore watching them go,
living through damp breath and hammering hearts.

We set the last three down on the lake,
blind to where the air ended. “Ghost,”
you breathed. It was my name that night.

An unseen current pulled the boats sharply away
and yours caught fire.
The flames made a home in my eyes.


Anonymous said...

it is so vivid and feels gentle. Your world feels like a good one with friends and intimacy. What makes you laugh? Can you write about that?

Kate Horowitz said...

That's good to know--It was supposed to feel vivid and gentle, but it was also supposed to hint at impending interpersonal doom, which I guess it did not do. Next time I'll go heavier on the doom.

Anonymous said...

The doom was there, why do you need it?

Are you a pessimist? do things go bad?

Kate Horowitz said...

It's not that I need doom (although as a rule, it's so much easier to write about)--this particular poem was based on a real evening, years and years ago, which was beautiful and poetic, but also tinged with the sad awareness that somehow things were about to go wrong.

I don't know whether or not I'm a pessimist. I know I used to be, and by habit I assume I still am, but whenever I'm disappointed I realize I had been expecting the best. I'm not sure what that's called. Unclassifiably human, I imagine.

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