Two versions of the same poem. The second version is one I ran through Translation Party and compressed and tweaked. I think I like it better than the first version, which is itself a revision of an older poem that didn’t quite work.
Remember the occasion.
The lake just before sunset,
after the hotdogs and corn on the cob.
Your mother’s old friend,
your best grown-up friend
visiting from Wisconsin–
showed you how.
Choose a flat stone.
Hold your fingers so,
angle your arm.
Remember when it first happened–
the miracle of stone slipping over silver water,
carving an orange path that bound
the beach to the mountains and the sun.
Gulls reeled and screamed.
Your mother packed up the basket
and your father extinguished the fire.
Can you do it now?
Can you float a slice of Earth–
for an instant make every necessary connection?
Can you believe there is somewhere
an answer you can still understand?
They cross the lake,
carve ripples toward the sunset–
the miracle of stone on water.
Along the violet path
gulls cry home,
clasps on the silver chain.
So many questions.
Choose the smoothest stones.
To transcend the limits
of the Spirit, you must trust
that the answers are complex. You must
learn to float stones.