We glide silently across still water,
like Venetian lovers.
My oarsman’s deep strokes scarcely disturb
The black water, though I peer, anxious,
Over the side of this unstable craft.
We enter a narrow lock
Crowded with oblivious ships ,
This absurd vessel tipping
With the slightest shift;
I hold my breath to keep it
Despite my care I lean too far,
Fall into the opaque dark..
I had feared to see deformed things,
Monstrous shapes, slithering in murky depths.
Instead, I discover glowing
green-gold light, empty
Suspended in transparent water ,
Dazzled by light, I rise, smiling,
Emerge to the sound of the oarsman’s laughter,
His hands reaching for me
As the canoe bursts free from the lock.
6 February 1994
- BLACKBERRIES FOR AMELIA
- JUNE NIGHT, FRANCE