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May 13, 1997

After Disappointment

by Susan Thomas

We were rowing to the island on Nichol's Pond
to see the full moon rise
and when the splash came
we raised our oars and waited.
We scanned the pond
but the animal held breath
longer than our gaze.
We slid over darkening water,
under darkening sky,
past overhung birch
and just leafing maples.
The last blooming trillium
trembled on the shore.

Then there was another sound --
a trickling in the woods;
some secret noise
I'd never heard before.
We edged the boat
into a place cleft by rock and cedar.
And then we saw it --
a thin waterfall back in the trees,
silver dropping down the ledges.
Sometimes, you said, sometimes
you want one thing and you get
something else instead, but it's better
than what you asked for.
Yes, I thought, after the disappointment.

The clouds refused to part,
and we made for shore in a blur
of pond and sky without break.
Suddenly the greyness
cracked open in the west.
A smudge of startling color
widened to a wedge of pink
so raw you couldn't call it pink --
a split in the world,
entrance to another place.
When your life opens up
a door you didn't ask for,
can you ignore its promise?

The loons called.
The sky deepened into darkness
and the land rose suddenly before us.
We held our oars and sat there
while the opening closed again.
But not before we saw it,
felt its pulsing,
rode it onto shore.


(Susan Thomas recieved 2nd Prize in Harbinger's White Rabbit Contest)


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