lara kneels by the base of the tree. She examines the roots, the pattern of wood and the way the ground unfolds over the bark so quietly, like a thought. Years later she will learn that the tree is the seed made explicit, but now she only thinks of the shapes. The ground unfolds into the tree and the tree unfolds into the ground, she thinks. And yet the bark is so stiff. She touches, then grips the bark of the tree. She feels its strength and thickness and then leans her face against it. There is a little doorway at the base. The wood is pale and shaped like rectangle. Clara knocks on it and laughs. Maybe something is inside. Maybe the doorway opens to a world just like this one, she thinks, but with more yellow, less green. Years later, Clara will think of this world when she thinks about heaven, but now she only knocks.
he boat has a yellow trim around its edges, and a blue cooler in the back. You put the wine in the cooler and fill it halfway with water. The lake water is dark, but clear in the cooler. You pull the motor until it sounds and then undock the boat. I splash you with water. “Where to, captain?” I ask. “The day is still bright.” You drive us to the middle and slow down to dip your legs. Your feet light up like something glimpsed in the distance. “Let me go first,” I say, leaning. And then I am looking at empty bottles in the dark, black sand and shapes of metal, until it is too dark to see and I can’t tell up from down. There is a weight pulling at my hands, but I can’t tell which way it’s pulling. I stretch out flat and stay still, somersault, kick my feet. I try to find the sandy bottom, but everything is too dark. Then I hear you jump in above me, and the cold water moves. All at once I notice the sun, over the lake, and how the clouds spread across the water, as if under the lake, and I swim up to your legs.
Steps Magazine's second Fall semester issue.