Fall 2012: Issue 92

Thomas Lux

At what depth does their dull orange disappear?

I rowed out to where I know the water’s deep,

and in my rowboat: a cargo

of bricks, fifty balanced

across the stern, just so.

At the bottom of this reservoir

was a town. Two towns, in truth.

Its people were paid an honest price

to leave, but no question: they had to move.

I anchor my boat forty feet above

what was once a pasture.

I take a brick from port first

and hold it by its upper-right corner

and dip its lower-left corner into the water

before I let it slip my fingers.

The next one I take from starboard,

but drop from port, and so forth and on.

It’s the sinistra hand that does the work.

I never counted two seconds before one was gone

from touch, and sound, and sight. They sink until they stop

on now drowned and grassless land.

Why do I want to leave a small scattering

of man-made triangular stones

at the bottom of this no-bones

(the cemetery relocated)

body of water? In darkness, who does not love

the faint, hard, orange glow

of building bricks?