'Despair is the Smallest of Our Errors,'
Steve Mereu
John Nimmo

Water and Planks

Water and planks separate us from mud; whitecaps
lap the pier that dips and bobs.
Kites dance at the lake's far edge;

waxwings fly from perch
to huckleberry, but a hawk
rounds the ridge, diving.

A drop moves down your face
like a ladybug on a long blade of grass.
Distress grew in us since May,

while lakeweed filled and fouled
these shallows. We could swim
in this biotic soup, flail

our limbs in slimy tangles,
and momentarily forget
how he lies, the hospital

bed at home, the green tank
with plastic tubes, and the brown-glass
bottles with fine-print labels

keeping cold between mustard
and jam. We run down the pier
and, ever so briefly, fly.