At the Lake House

by Jon Loomis

Wind and the sound of wind—
across the bay a chainsaw revs
and stalls. I’ve come here to write,

but instead I’ve been thinking
about my father, who, in his last year,
after his surgery, told my mother

he wasn’t sorry—that he’d cried
when the other woman left him,
that his time with her

had made him happier than anything
he’d ever done. And my mother,
who’d cooked and cleaned for him

all those years, cared for him
after his heart attack, could not
understand why he liked the other

woman more than her,
but he did. And she told me
that after he died she never went

to visit his grave—not once.
You think you know them,
these creatures robed

in your parents’ skins. Well,
you don’t. Any more than you know
what the pines want from the wind,

if the lake’s content with this pale
smear of sunset, if the loon calls
for its mate, or for another.

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. I came across this poem on Monday morning, when it arrived in my Inbox as part of Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry newsletter. It’s an email I look forward to every week, and it rarely disappoints. I can’t recommend it enough.

    Loomis’ poem has stayed with me since the morning, and I find it simply haunting.

    The distance that this poem covers, the leaps that it makes… this poem has really taken my breath away. I’ve been thinking about it, off and on, for two days now.

    avoision Reply

Leave A Reply