If You Live on a Lake

A poem by Judy Stevens

If you live on a lake,

it becomes a friend, and eventually

family. You learn its language, know its rhythms

and moods,

share its daily anticipation

as sunrise illuminates

another dawn’s unforeseen comings

and goings.

Like you, on occasion it can be cruel.

Mostly, though, it’s generous – a wet welcome mat

that turns the other cheek

every time the wind changes direction.

On a clear day, ripples sparkling,

its glee is catching, as you well know,

and thank goodness you have caught it many a time.

When a curtain of rain draws across its wide girth,

its jitters send you running to close

the windows.

It flexes powerful muscles during a thunderstorm, while

you, transfixed on the porch, wait

for the long, throbbing fingers of lightning

to poke its churned-up water.

And during a hurricane? Alarming fury is unleashed.

It morphs into a crazed alien,

frothing at the mouth and trashing

its own shore.

On a dark night it keeps your deepest secrets,

yet under the light of a full moon becomes

a suitor wearing black silk.

It can sow gloom on a grey day if you let it.

But on a calm day at sunset, it smooths

the warm butter of serenity

into your hard crust.