At Lake Ronnie, 1975

In the dark
I find my uncle’s voice
punctuated by a cigarette tip,
burning bright orange
then red as the sentence
rises in conclusion,
followed by the laughter
of all gathered.

Yellow party lanterns
strung around the clubhouse
screened in porch
light the way for
escaping conversation
to roll down the steep lawn,
across the boat dock
then meet chance phrases
carried at dusk
from the other side
of the lake.

The random gang of syntax
gathers on Uncle Mel’s salmon pink
fiberglass pontoon boat,
casts off the bow line
and motors at slow speed
to the lake’s center.

Words drift in and out
of this party of strays.
They become less and less
coherent as the night deepens
then stagger off
to separate silences
before dawn

when fish awaken from dreams
of being drawn beyond choosing
toward brilliant light,
dancing gracefully
in a long arc.

Most take this
as a good omen
and swim unaware
beneath the rectangular shadow,
a man’s loud voice,
and a dusting of cigarette ash
on the water.

6 thoughts on “At Lake Ronnie, 1975

  1. “I find my uncle’s voice
    punctuated by a cigarette tip,”
    Many memories include the way someone smoked back in the day. Each person’s body language smoking was etched in minds so people could see them in the distance or even at night and people would know who they were.
    I wonder what body language would do the same today?
    Talking on the cell phone or texting ?

    Thanks for the excellent post.

    Siggi in Downeast Maine

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