November Elegy

By Michael Lavers

You’re gone, and in the season you loved best,
when lamps go on at six, then five, then four,
and you’d rush to the lake, eager to test

the ice, let down your bait. The coat you wore
for years, scale-stained, hangs in the closet still,
a great dumb fish. You’re not you anymore,

and so won’t need it there, over whatever hill,
out on what lake there is, to stand above
a chiseled hole where lines and snowslush spill

into the green and quiet parlors of
a shadow world, and feel the poor flesh heaving
as the line twangs, tugging at your glove.

To peer down, breathless, changed, but grieving
at the cold hard brilliance of the living.

Michael Lavers is the author of After Earth, published by the University of Tampa Press. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, AGNI, The Hudson Review, Best New Poets 2015, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. Winner of the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize, the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize, and the Bridport Poetry Prize, he lives in Provo, Utah, and teaches at Brigham Young University.

Originally published in NOR 29.

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