A Fall Confession

By | 15 May 2023

The autumn I tumbled down that lakeside,
flaking up a hill of lava leaves in my wake,
my uncle’s motor boat had been roped
to a sort-of stillness, the floating dock
reined and returned to the ugly umber bank,
a shame beside my remembered coast, the near-sugar
shade of copra
—I never lost my footing
when the neighbour’s labrador ghosted into view,
a black blur between the maples
so crowded their canopy allowed only portions
of Georgia’s sun upon the orange—
by the first bark, a baritone glock, I didn’t trip
just then, but turned on purpose, my towel
sloughed-off like the leaves bereaving that hill.
All these ages, my story was the suddenness
slipped me back, made me free roll down
to the sand I slandered like crazy, my limbs
and elsewhere flayed by friction, two great
herons at the mezzanine point of the slope
startled, preparing their wings and wincing.
The truth is that I aimed on instinct toward
the shoreline, then moved automatic
like the mother and son in one of Senior’s
Hurricane Stories, who saw reunion in the water
so walked to meet each other, continents
I moved myself like it was written
somewhere that danger feared the shallows,
would not follow me there where
the water wore its mossy skirt and sloshed
as I soared some metres from the ledge
into landing, toe-first into the brown beach
and the leg in question crumpling—
if it pleases
the reader, hold me there, in midair,
a pause to prep my life for limping,
the chronic knee nuisance, help me untwist
the Aboniki balm, the mutt of that moment
long since put down, pursuing me still
up each stairway, through the varied aisles
and every lawn I’ve let wild—
or rewind
my steps from fracture back to laughter
on the dock, do away with the grounding,
the moans I’d made to summon cousins
from the cabin, when, crippled, I caught
the small felt waves and let them in.
They flowed over the bone jooking out
my blood-shined shin, nudging the leaks like love.

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