Lake River Lake

Lilace Mellin Guignard


In my Corolla, looking at the lake, my notebook
on my thigh tucked below the steering wheel
and west of the gearshift, while maple leaves
the color of butter melting into caramel
twirl in the shadow & sun strobe that’s flashed
every autumn water I’ve known, though, yes,
most were rivers, fast & rough as I was ten,
twenty years ago, when I lived in my pick-up,
busy studying young men and the hole they had
the same place I had fear, back when I was afraid
of nothing but putting my kayak in, making excuses,
for I had too much freedom and knew what it was
to want a load, didn’t I, for I had good technique
and was strong, part-mare, and, though risky,
could carry a weight to the grave, but did not
want to be arriving beside that hole alone, wanted
a worthy burden, its mane braided with
wildflowers, mostly purple, which I am too.
There’s a horse that died next to a house I was in
whose name I forget, but not Whit,
who came to the door crying, a large mule of a man,
asking for my husband’s aunt because he had no one
and it was getting cold and the grave to dig
and where and how and Oh! his heavy, beloved horse.


Lilace Mellin Guignard lives with her husband and two children in rural Pennsylvania, where she teaches creative writing, women’s studies, and outdoor recreation leadership at Mansfield University. Her poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies, including Poetry magazine. She has published a poetry chapbook, Young at the Time of Letting Go, and her prose book, When Everything Beyond the Walls Is Wild, is forthcoming from Texas A&M University Press.