Today's poem is by Kevin Prufer

The Party by the Lake

Such a time we had at the lake those days —Janie with her catamaran
calling to the shore
                            and Wilson, who was always game,
tipping his gimlet back, laughing with the others
who smoked their cigarettes
                                        and died all morning.

Such a blear and thrill,
                            the sun that trilled the windowsill with cobwebs,
the sun that lit the lake and made of its surface a shiny pan—

Times like those I was a kind of angel
my silver wings dragging in the dirt behind me,
                                                                    my ragshop hair
that glowed like the light before a storm—

The lord had given me a voice that made the others swoon and sing,
that made them sigh—Oh, sing! and sing! from Janie,
                                                  and Yes, old boy, from the men—
I was an empty vessel, a box of sound.

Then the black night fell around us like a wing—
Janie tying up the boat, and Wilson done and staggering,
his chair atilt
              then fallen on the dock,

and I gone, too, in the head, one drink too many,
wet of lip and strange,
                            thin-wristed in the cold night air.

I dragged my wings across the planks
and stood in my feathers and golden hair
to look to the distant town,
                                        a row of crumbled teeth.

The moon fell like a match over the corpse of the party.

When I opened my mouth to sing
                                                                            a rasp came out —
no, nothing, nothing—as the stars untied their strings
and on the lord's command
                                        they fell.

Copyright © 2007 Kevin Prufer All rights reserved
from Conduit
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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