Elegy for My Cousin

This poem features my dad’s Sunfish sailboat, which we sailed on our little lake in the 60s and early 70s.

The Sunfish on Eagle Lake

Dad bought it used, but only gently so.  We put more miles on that boat in the first summer than it had accumulated with its previous owner.  Dad and I were calm and talked little when we sailed together.  When my best friend and I took it out our goal was to sail past the docks of the boys with the big motorboats.  It was when my cousin Leah came from Chicago to visit that the boat’s potential for capsizing was realized.

***

“Underwater Sisters” was published by Prairie Wolf Press Review in their Fall 2010 issue.

Underwater Sisters

You wanted to switch places with my brother.

I told you how bored you’d be in Michigan,

that we can’t bottle fireflies on July nights,

have to go to  bed during daylight, like Alaska.

You tipped me over ten times to one, the Sunfish

sail dragging me under to a place I could hide

to spook you, but you were never scared of anything.

You knelt on the overturned boat and laughed.

I think you laughed.  Or were you crying?

When Michigan was all underwater with slippery

plants and bullfrogs, snakes even, and my hair

fanned out on the surface, time eroded.

Maybe you harvested a dangerous lakeseed,

put it in your pocket, and forgot it for too long.

Did I not tell you I was kidding, hiding

under the sail, not drowning?

I wrote this poem about my cousin Leah who passed away unexpectedly nine years ago, in September 2003.

With my little cousin Leah

12 Comments

Filed under Poetry

12 responses to “Elegy for My Cousin

  1. Thank you for the amazing story and photos. Good to go back in time and remember the good people.

  2. Sweet photo and wonderfully lakish poem. Thanks!

  3. lucewriter

    That’s a new word for me–lakish! Yes, I can’t get the Michigan lakes out of me. Thanks so much for reading, Wilma.

  4. Beautiful poem ! It touched me deeply.

  5. beautifully done – a lovely tribute to someone you will never truly lose–she is part of you

I'd love to hear your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s