Driving Toward the Lake Like a long-lost friend returning to the neighborhood, sunlight falls into the day. The trees glow. Pointillist paintings roll out along the road. New leaves, pastel yellow-greens, splotches of red buds and a single hawk riding the thermals. A life’s made of many turns. Today is gentle hills and curves, no sign of last week’s suddenwhite flurry. Everything’s going by so quickly. But this moment feels still. What is there, really, but the nowwith all its many layers? Sunlight,the grace of trees, and looking forward. I’m feeling the tenderness of new leaves while thinking of a small lake I know, and how it waits. The bowl of its blue, open and calm. If ever I turn to ghost, I hopeto hold within me this single day, light-filled. Or find my way back to it choosing this eternal now. For those few days the rain surrounded us so completelywe felt encaved.Leaves pressing against the cabin cast their green shadows over us.They hung down, shiny and drippingin the space between rains,their deep jade shadows beautiful and strangelike the poems that called to us.We got tired,tired of the rain, of ourselves, the workof poetry, the workof listening to our deeper selves.But rain sang to us from the roofand the words became worldswe learned how to enter,sweet air we’d seldom known, but needed.Then from the lily-padded lakecame the wild, wavering calls of loonsin their language of longing.Our lost selves returning to haunt us. We came to love the dripping ferns braceleting the cabin, protecting us from the hard, commonplace days,the complicated lives we’d left behindfor those few days. Your Absence Flies Toward Me Like a Large, Dark Bird The cormorant dives underwaterand is gone a long time.At last it reappears—dark sleek head, muscular neck, the glossy feathersof its back. The bird rides low in the water,much of it lost from view. When it does the whole trick again diving down and disappearing for long,long moments, I’m not fooled. The mind can follow, though eyes blink at nothing but sparkles of light flashing clean and empty on water. Now I’m the one who vanishesinto a room far from that day, thinking about that bird, how it perched on a rock in the afternoon sun stretching its wings out to dry. It stayed so long and still in that pose it might have been sculpted from black stone. Obsidian. Light all around it—How long ago was that? In this pale lake of wordsthe cormorant has resurfaced.And yesterday a photograph of you fell out of a dusty book. Your hair a little too long, your arms akimbo, eyes squinting into the future. Absence is nothing. A trick of the senses, momentary panic. I can close my eyesand see that bird right now burning his way through the depths. Ginny Lowe Connors is the author of several poetry collections, including Toward the Hanging Tree: Poems of Salem Village. Her chapbook, Under the Porch, won the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize, and she has earned numerous awards for individual poems. As publisher of her own press, Grayson Books, Connors has also edited a number of poetry anthologies, including Forgotten Women: A Tribute in Poetry. She is co-editor of Connecticut River Review.