A Lakeshore Reflection with a Willow
The kids laughed at the willow with the moonrise.
It was like an old woman pulling on a ghost, stretching it
into a bowl of snow and sticks. They kicked some slush
onto the knotty roots along the shore. The lake was slushy too
full of old silent storms and town trash. If five children
stood on every one of its strongest branches, they’d be owls
whickering about their cold wings at the start of winter.
If four children circled the tree in the darkest part of a moon sliver,
they’d make four ratty leaves webbed onto a scarecrow’s face
where a mean spidery thing slept and dreamed of three kids
who would plink their own baby teeth as these fell out for dollars
in a shadow’s house, its other dream was feeding there.
If two children, fraternal twins, your daughter and son in your old age,
dragged you close to the willow so you’d laugh with them,
they’d be cobbles somebody dropped in a knothole to scare a mouse.
If one child camped there, strummed a mandolin, then fell asleep,
the willow could stroll away on the lake with its own life
and no one else would feel so haunted along this path.
Clyde Kessler lives in Radford, VA with his wife Kendall and their son Alan. He’s a founding member of Blue Ridge Discovery Center, an environmental education organization in southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina.
Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz writes stories, takes pictures and makes teddy bears by hand.