by Allic Rennie

My nephew and I sit with our feet kicking in the lake,
he giggles and squeals with every splash.
He hasn’t learned the word
for this thing engulfing his toes,
and so it holds the mystery of an individual.
He doesn’t know,
that there are millions like it
and so he doesn’t know, like I do,
that this lake is mundane.

The flash of a lake trout’s tail flits past,
like the fleeting glance of a future lover.
I think of the first time I met that girl from the park,
surrounded by seagulls,
laughing with her light blue eyes.
My nephew certainly doesn’t know the word
for that but neither did I when,
days later I lay with the girl,
tracing the gentle curve of her back with a finger.

My nephew sees the trout as well
and waddles naked through the water after it.
His yearning for the fish
hasn’t yet learned the word for drowning
the way the baby giraffe reaching after
the upper branches of a Boab
will never learn the word for patience.

I grab him around the waist
and hoist him through the air.
He shrieks and holds his arms out,
doing only what he sees the seagulls do.
His stomach that jumped to his throat during liftoff
hasn’t learned the word for flying,
though it clearly doesn’t matter.