The man on the farther shore is fishing.
I can see him cast his line into
the clear water. The lake is ringed
with signs that warn, in three languages,
not to eat the fish. The ducks are back.
Coots, they’re called. Small black bodies,
white heads. They only pass through
in spring and fall. They summer
someplace else. Two gulls fly
low to the water. They’re crying
back and forth. Their bellies,
the underside of their wings,
look so smooth and white.
I’m lying on cement steps that lead
down into the water. I’m soaking up
the heat after a painful winter.
It’s so bright I go sunblind
if I stare too long at the ripples
on the lake. Just off the steps,
the pristine water. I can count
the stones at the bottom.
Under my left arm, a small lump
is growing. It’s barely painful.
Tomorrow the doctor, a sibyl
of the body, will look at it
and tell my fortune.
Today there’s only the sun,
the slight lap-lap of the waves
as they lick the farther shore.
William Reichard is the author of four collections of poetry, including Sin Eater (2010) and This Brightness (2007) from Mid-List Press. He lives and works in Saint Paul, MN.