by Sammy Parker
The wind had calmed, but
snow filled the morning
with a still, full-white density.
Nothing moved or dared move--
except his dad, who said
through slow steam off hot coffee,
Get the warm stuff on; we’ll go
to the lake.
Didn’t know what to think of that
on a bitter, cold Saturday,
nothing moving or daring to move.
its water was blue-green
in mountain summers
algae tinted on the back western edge
warm and clean and
just deep enough on the front eastern edge
crisscrossed wooden walkways
hot-sun cool perfect
he’d spent it seemed
most of his twelve summers there but
had never seen its winter sheen
it’s a July lake he thought
not a January lake but
here they stood staring
at its unmoving January blue-glass surface
a leafless stand of sparse small trees
he’d never really noticed before
in the water at the northern edge
thin bare outstretched limbs
beneath thin mantles of gathering white
Why’re we here? he said.
The man was quiet for a while, then
Your grandmother died long ago
on a day like this. I wasn’t there.
Where or why makes no difference.
Should’ve been there.
Should’ve been there, too,
on days without snow,
on a lot more days when
she wasn’t dying--
I ponder on that, especially
on days like this.
—and snow still fell, gently, quietly
in the windless, icy mountain air--
Wanted you with me when
I said that out loud.
The boy pushed that around
in each corner of his mind,
finding nothing beyond the obvious
but sensing more was there.
Pretty, isn’t it? his dad said,
old brown fedora and
thin suede coat white covered.
His eyes had never left the lake,
where a thousand-thousand flakes
with the wide and silent water.
Let’s go home,
make some snow cream.
He turned and walked
toward their snow-topped
old Chevy pickup,
the boy following
in the bigger footprints,
still trying to figure larger things--
but gave that up and turned and looked
one last time at the lake,
the lonely, lovely trees standing
just above the waterline—and realized
he knew for certain
just one new thing:
for all it had given him in July,
it surely was
a January lake, too--
but deep down
he knew one more thing
the mystery beyond his dad’s words
floated high and dark
on the winter water
now his to ponder
on days like this
Sammy Parker, born in western North Carolina and living in Georgia, taught English at Western Carolina University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and had poems published in multiple editions of the literary journals at both. He’s a U. S. Air Force veteran and worked in technical publications at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His poems have been published in multiple editions of Belle Rêve Literary Journal and in Red River Review, Appalachian Journal, and Muddy River Poetry Review.
Belle Rêve Literary Journal is a southern literary experience. Our mission is to capture everything that makes the South and its residents unique through the best contemporary literature we can find. We publish new works weekly.
Passionately Ran, Compassionately Fed.