(for JSJ)

An open expanse – watery in makeup
you liken to limitless lake
that stretches before you

Effort brought you to this mostly rocky shore
patchy quicksand, tidal sinkholes
beckon at least moisten toes

Exertion so great you questioned
countless times to reach this far
yet here you are, proud            and terrified

This intensity, new, akin
to razor-raised taste buds
water – how you view it now – beckons
glints sun, ripples with whitecaps
beyond, and after that?
where water swallows sky?
that petrifying place, potential
                                                      with no lifeguard

Does it drop off?
With cutting rocks and biting fish?
I just ate!

Echoes clutter, leave you
feeling falsely less alone
despite an absence                     of anyone

This lake, its vastness – colour you’d never fathomed
in depthless fathoms, receding in journal scrawls
crumpled, torn, and tossed
                                                      to ebbing tide

Encroachment, dread, as you
scramble to sandbag retaining walls
futile against the surge

With a neap exhale
you return to proper pursuits, to toil
toward the next mile-marker, hopeful

it’s nowhere near this open body

Vancouver author, poet, songwriter Bill Arnott is the bestselling nonfiction author of Wonderful Magical Words and Dromomania. His poetry, reviews and articles are published by the League of Canadian Poets and Authors Publish (Canada), Paper Dart Press (UK), Plum Tree Tavern and Scars Publications (US and Europe), with other work in online journals. His series Left Coast Poetry Beat appears in ST@NZA. Studio 6 is his CD of Indie Folk and spoken word. Bill’s CD and book sales have generated donations to Make-A-Wish Foundation, St James Music Academy, St Ives Arts Club and Caetani House, where he was writer-in-residence.

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