Looking Over the Lake
© 2015 by Vernon Miles Kerr
Tired, retired; living on the 401K so diligently saved;
Living the American Dream: looking over the lake by our apartments.
Year after year, I’m privileged to witness the Canada Geese negotiate
Their circumnavigations of the Continent.
A chatty V-formation of them fills my vision from periphery to periphery
As they barely miss the ridge-pole of our two story building,
Full flaps out, on the last few yards of their final approach into Denver,
Finally landing, splay-footed, water skiing to a rippling stop.
Then a moment of silence, before resuming their garalous honking converations.
The ducks are having their own raspy domestic disputes over on the other shore,
While a bullfrog’s deep, humming, self-promoting advertisements
Provide the bass line in rhythm with breezy, swaying cat tail reeds.
But my deep enjoyment of this, and even of my ritualistic semi-diurnal
Pilgrimages to the veranda
To witness morning’s sky lighten in the East
And evening’s redden in the West
Are tainted by guilt.
Who am I, to be here surrounded by peace when others,
By mere happenstance, at this moment, quake in their beds,
Waiting for a pounding on the door, a ripping from their home
A quick severing of the head,
Being forced to watch a child’s sweet head
Go rolling across grease-spotted, scarlet-smeared concrete.
Is this the feeling of those lucky but poor Jews
Who by stealth or flight escaped the Dachaus and the Bergen-Belsens?
It must be.
“Who am I to deserve life, while innocent children’s gassed bodies
Sizzled in the ovens of Europe.”
And, indeed, who am I to luxuriate n Nature’s beauty
While, right now, a mother down South sits and counts the Rosary
With shaking fingers, longing to hear her son’s hand on the door knob
But instead hearing the intermittent, repeated,
Distant pops of pistols.
All the while, here I sit, in my impotent desperation,
Looking over the lake.