by Dorianne Laux
Man-made, bejesus hot, patches of sand turned to glass.
Home of Iron Mountain and McCulloch chainsaws.
London Bridge, disassembled, shipped, reassembled.
The white sturgeon stocked, found dead, some lost,
hiding in the depths of Parker Dam. Fifty year-old
monsters, maybe twenty feet long. Lake named
for the Mojave word for blue. Havasu. Havasu.
What we called the sky on largemouth bass days,
striped bass nights, carp, catfish, crappie, razorback,
turtles, stocked, caught, restocked. I stood waist deep
in that dammed blue, and I was beautiful, a life saver
resting on my young hips, childless, oblivious
to politics, to the life carted in and dumped
into the cauldron I swam through, going under,
gliding along the cool sand like a human fish,
white bikini-ed shark flashing my blind side.
We heard a woman died, face down in the sand,
drunk on a 125 degree day. That night we slept
on dampened sheets, a hotel ice bucket on the
bedside table. We sucked the cubes round, slid
the beveled edges down our thighs and spines,
let them melt to pools in the small caves
below our sternums. While you slept beside me
I thought of that woman, her body one long
third degree burn, sweating and turning
under a largo moon, the TV on: seven dead
from Tylenol, the etched black wedge of the
Vietnam Memorial, the Commodore Computer
unveiled, the first artificial heart, just beginning
to wonder if something might be wrong.
|About this poem:|
"I've always wanted to write a poem about Lake Havasu, which I only visited once when I was in my twenties on the arm of my bar-act boyfriend who was there to sing covers of ‘Margaritaville’ and ‘The Gambler’ for drunken college kids on spring break. It was a foreign country to me, and though at first it all seemed exotic and quite beautiful, it began to dawn on me that it was utterly concocted and entirely debauched, but not in a good way.”
Copyright © 2013 by Dorianne Laux. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 17, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.