By Laura Read
On the way out to Hauser Lake,
we drive past two cops holding a shirtless boy
face down in the weeds,
past Curley’s, fifty motorcycles and a girl
in shorts and cowboy boots, her legs
wrapped around a boy’s waist. Past the state line
where we used to go to drink at Kelly’s
because it was legal in Idaho.
We ordered Derailers, pink drinks thick
with alcohol, the way this lake is laced
with fish. We can see them when we swim,
their thin skin and skeletons.
My son pulls them from the water, collects
them in the bucket where the fish don’t know
my son will throw them back. He is tall now,
his shadow long on the dock. We are as distant
and as close as the night he was born
and I lay in my hospital room without him
and heard a baby screaming and knew it was him.
The floors in that bar were wood
and sawdust and I danced on them
in my tight jeans and boots like I was someone else.
We stared at boys we didn’t know until they took us
out to the parking lot to smoke. We wanted
something to happen. I am watching my son
from the house. It is getting dark.
The osprey keep lifting off the lake
with fish in their mouths, and the lightning
is pushing up behind the clouds
so all we can see is the pressure of light,
not the sharp bolt,
the way a person tries to speak but can’t.
Current Spokane Poet Laureate, Laura Read, is known for her Floating Bridge Prize winning chapbook, The Chewbacca on Hollywood Boulevard Reminds Me of You. Read’s book, Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral, was the winner of the 2011 Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. Laura teaches at Spokane Falls Community College. “State Line” previously published by New Madrid Poetry Journal.