Across the Lake

If I remember the lake yesterday, the tanager

deep in the woods, it feels like a memory

lost in a series of new ones, each singular event

simply a tanager in a tree. And then there are only trees, a huge blue sky.

Say it is not gone, I cannot find a tanager. It is only gone

when you are looking for it. How the day passes

more brief than the one that came before, when a late evening chill spills

down your neck, the way the forest goes quiet. I want to tell you

that tanager will always remain a scarlet flutter in the high canopy,

will beckon you to see in a rush of color the fleeting moment, your day

just another day across the lake. And the tanager

do not try and take it with you, but listen instead to this song.

(He pulls her close, a hand in her hair.) This talk of tanagers stirs

your thoughts, your eyes tell me so. It is here at the lake where you feel

most alive. Tell me you love me, and this moment will be ours, will fill

with our living. When you wake in the morning I am the song

in your resting hair, the softness of your mouth, and my touch

tells you so. The tanager across the lake you will never hold

inside your delicate hands, how to hold so much color.

But we are here now, and the lake is here, the tanager

here. We should only ask for so much.

David Crews ( is the author of the poetry collections High Peaks (RA Press, 2015) and Circadian Rhythm (Paulinskill Poetry Project, 2014). His poems have appeared in The Greensboro Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, The Carolina QuarterlyStone Canoe, and others. He serves as editor for The Stillwater Review. Follow @dcrewspoetry.