Echo Lake

Nicholas Friedman

You hunker underneath a shaggy fir,
shifting when sunlight shifts its bit of shade,
and eat a single almond every hour.
A fizzing galaxy of dark stars swarm
the matted, still-wet grass where you were sick.

“We’re gonna laugh when we look back at this,”
you tell me. It’s a good thing there’s no mirror.
Now and again, you stumble from the shade
to retch. I take your pulse and check for service,
but I know it’s useless. “Such a perfect place,”
you say despite yourself.

                                                           Out on the lake,
cliff swallows sketch the surface, then disappear
into the granite ridge that cuts the light
and tricks the distance into something near.