PHILIP BICE


DAWN

There is a lake that lives in a mountain and on the right days and in the perfect light it
will tell you all of the secrets it has hidden in its depths, behind the seaweed and the dead
fish and the sunken logs and the barrels you left, bottoms filled with cement you mixed
last summer when I was still with you.

I always promised that I would go back with you to that lake and we would ask it
questions that were too great for us to answer ourselves. We couldn’t make it together
but I am there now and in the depths of the lake I feel your heart pounding and as I
slowly move towards it I feel you nearing. I, now a ghost, find you at the lake’s edge and
enter your heart. I suddenly feel like I am in a house of doors with halls of doors and
rooms filled with doors, I’m not sure which one to enter to rest my weary eyes.

Two summers ago you asked me if you could braid my hair and although I thought it was
silly, I agreed. You braided and we sat until my mother opened my bedroom door to find
us on my bed without clothes on. She paused a moment and we thought in the shock of
the moment that if we were to cover ourselves with a blanket and just lay very still she
would forget what she had seen and walk out thinking we were not there. We lay so still
holding our breath until she said my name and the jig was up and as she stood in the
doorway screaming at the top of her lungs, you sat there still braiding.

If only I hadn’t left after that to go to the lake and ask it what to do, I would be by your
side on the shore asking questions. Instead, I went by myself but since it was not the
right time of day the lake would not answer. I thought that if only I could get a little
closer to its ears it would hear me better and give me a reply. Stripping off my clothes I
walked slowly into the lake repeating What do I do now? over and over as I stepped
further and deeper. Still with no reply I walked, with water now over my head and
asking, begging, praying for an answer as I moved into its depths. I got so caught up in
asking and walking that I forgot I needed air and am now still in its depths behind the
seaweed and the dead fish and the sunken logs and barrels you left, and you are standing
on the shoreline and asking, begging, praying the lake to answer, What do I do now? As
I, a ghost, watch you and whisper with all of my ghost might, don’t walk into the water, it
is far too cold for that now.

 
 
 
 
THEIR PATHS GROWN CRAVEN AND CIRCUITOUS

I saw a bear this morning and it turned into a calculator, I used it to tabulate the distance between
us; a stack of homework, a board game. Until now, we’ve only been procrastinating. I promise
to do the laundry, then don’t. You promise nothing, but are everything. Just then, on the horizon,
two parallel lines converge against all statistical probability. You, a plover, in perfect form take
flight and I hastily past sheets of paper to my arms to create wings. As I rise in altitude and
the maze disappears below me, the helium in my bones suddenly ignites like the flick of a light
switch. You continue to fight to form the perfect sentence, as I fall in flame.
 
 
 
 



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