Black Water


Bob was seven years sober
when he drifted out onto the lake,
thought about turning his boat over.

Seemed like a good idea
and he didn’t feel like waiting
for a better one.

I drift now over his  same lake,
once a river canyon now dammed
by industry and the needs of leisure.

My skiff floats free above
black moss skeletons of trees rooted in stone,
their branched arms waving dead in the cold dark water.





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  1. Joy Pixley

    The “black moss skeletons of trees” waving at him from below adds a wonderful sepulchral imagery to him returning to his friend’s lake. I also like the touch of “seven years sober” — such an interesting hint about why Bob might be out on the lake, having those thoughts.

  2. Margaret

    Seven yeaars sober sounds like an achievement, and it is, but Bob would know the reality – the agony of the struggle for those years. My father had the same name, and fought the same battle, but lost. I love the economy with which you’ve built this scene; and the lyricism in the final lines contrasts powerfully with the pared down style to that point. There are layers of meaning here.

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