Saturday Morning, Beach 3
At the end of the street, we can see rescue teams
from other towns & firemen carrying oxygen tanks
across our neighbor’s lawn. In this sleepy village, toddlers
take their first steps at this lake. Lovers paddle at twilight
in tilt-proof canoes. Kids learn to cast their lines off the dock.
From a kayak you can’t see the bottom but if you’re lucky,
a snake will slither past or you’ll spot a box turtle sunning
itself on a half-submerged log. The waters are quietest
at this hour before families gather. Never these sirens
& flashing lights, never this anguish as palpable
as morning fog. From the raised porch, I can see
yellow tape cordon off the beach where I sat last night
with Jessie staring at the calm. Moira pushes a toy lawnmower
up the cul de sac & the neighbor whose husband is recovering
from Covid walks slowly down her driveway to ask
if what she heard was true. Channel 12 will confirm it
with shots of our lake and the diving crews. Even
when they find the body 50 feet off shore in 5 feet of water
no one can say how this happened. When little kids release
a fish back into the lake, they grip its slippery scales,
stare at its pulsing mouth & then lower the fish to the surface
where they watch it curl like a question mark & disappear.
Jeff Schwartz grew up in Ohio and currently lives in Connecticut, where he taught for 33 years at Greenwich Academy. He was an early member of Alice James Books and has published poems recently in Paper Brigade Daily, Abandoned Mine, and English Journal. He also writes frequently on student-centered learning.