Lake Dolores

There is a precipice
overlooking Lake Dolores;
it has a stable ledge
upon which I am standing.

In winters past Dolores was packed
with congregating townsfolk.
Bundled grown-ups chatted, while
giggling children skated across
her shimmering wonderland.
On Christmas eves we all joined hands
--a human chain enveloping--,
and imparted to her our gift of carols.


One evening, a young boy and girl
came to Lake Dolores to play.
They noticed a weak spot in the ice,
where the two had broken through.
The couple twirled beneath Dolores,
their innocent forms joined in ignorance.
A powerful current surprised them.
Exhausted, cold and out of air,
they drifted down to a watery bed.


The sheriff wondered who saw them drown,
for someone made the call.
A frantic child who hid from them
stood there and watched it all.


A Sunday dedication was held
--a granite stone cemented--
near the spot where they departed.
Ashen figures stood there, mourning.




Dusk arrived before I knew it,
more snow and chill amassing.
Wreaths and other farewell trinkets
--a part of Dolores for all time--
are completely covered over.

Through February's afternoon flurry,
I view a tip of silver mesh
that cut Dolores off from us,
thirty years ago today.


I made my way to my car,
turning up my collar against the cold..

When I closed my door,

I glimpsed that sobbing, frightened child

in my rear view mirror.

Even the freezing gusts out here
cannot numb a void still smarting
from fallen spirits who were as kin,
that I allowed to leave this world.

When that child is in my bed
as the stars go out tonight,
two orbs who have finally forgiven me
will still be burning bright.


Fran Hinkle

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