Henry Lyman

Henry Lyman’s book The Land Has Its Say was published by Open Field Press in 2015. The Elizabeth Press has published his translations from the work of the Estonian poet Aleksis Rannit. He edited Robert Francis’s posthumous collection Late Fire, Late Snow and an anthology of New England poetry, After Frost, both published by University of Massachusetts Press. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

 

A Pool in the River

Draining no less slowly than it brims it stays in sun
between two mudbanks, takes on a look of sky
at noonday, and where shadows cut across reveals
a few small fish suspended. It holds a shape where bare
dark women once undid their braids and swam
among the splashing children. Where a century later
farmers dropped their breeches and waded in,
cupping in hand what in two hundred years
Claire and Joyce would part with their breaststrokes
while Max stood waist deep and Ed floated face up
watching for some sign of rain. Sun and shadow mingle
as I dream of generations diving to the bottom
summer after summer and always out beyond them
off wherever Max has gone and Joyce a decade after him
then Claire. Behind me Ed at ninety-seven
is mowing even still, and I see him with the others
coming through the trees, making the best of a river
by handing each other down into it daily, canes
left lying at the edge of what would casually lift them.

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