At Birkenhead Lake
by Kent Bruyneel
At Birkenhead Lake, a hard hour from Pemberton, smoke
comes off the mountains like a thousand's thousands trees
are on fire.
But for the water baying at the dirt-sand, at seven am,
there is no sound. There are no bears, no rabbits, no
mice; just a postcard for "Beautiful British Columbia"
that would show a triad of green, blue and rock-grey.
That picture, as now, would be in awe, and unaware, of
my capacity for weakness and wonder.
When my friends wake up all this silence will be broken
by the running of dogs, the throwing of footballs and
Frisbees and the voices of little children caught suddenly
by the weight of both their solitude near water and the
towels around their necks.
By then the dock, 100 yards or a swift front crawl away,
will be less a beacon than it is now. To the young girls
in first bikinis it will serve as a weight station, even
a market place where they will comb each other's eyes
for doubt & self-awareness.
If I am still awake, I am certain I will feel the most
empathy for the biggest girl: a T-shirt over her first
bikini, her hand pulling it down over her waist. Her steps,
like a nervous soldier forced into battle, will be a call
to please let us just get back in the water. All of
us. Just stop standing out here or lying out here where
the eye must go when at the beach: toward the water.
is happy to be home. Off the tarmac.