In the shimmer light, soft suddenly,
a call floats dimly from the darkling lake,
turning ghastly in the gloaming, groaning
hopelessly, as if a heart could break
from just the twilight’s common fade.
No one embarks at dusk on such
a bleak expanse of iron glassy shine.
No one heeds the pleas of unknown throats
and unseen eyes. Who knows what calls fine
men into the waiting edgeless deep?
They retire to their cots for guilty sleep.
But cabin walls pass through the plaintive wail.
So, dreamless men re-gather on the shore.
Wordlessly, they launch their boat and sail
in search of that which chills them to their core.
What they find, and leave untouched, remains
unnamed in a spot unmarked. They flee the reach
and, breathless aboard their boat, as it strains
against the current back toward the beach,
each vows silently to sail no more by night.
Published in Gunpowder River Poetry (Spring & Summer 2003); in The Brink at Logan Pond (2005); and in Poets Gone Wild (2005).