SHADOW LAKE

Megan Kimber

Some water invites you 

to enter it. 

Maybe that’s what I was like for you.

Like you were the earth, sloping

gently but persistently,

leaning in closely - 

inviting me to wear away your edge.

 

Sitting on the sand at Shadow Lake, 

I know I cannot enter,

unfamiliar as I am to this water

which formed from glaciers

in deep history - 

able to compress and shift at will,

forge fine passage 

through dolorite and granite

turn moments upon moments 

until they form into one entity.

 

Everything replete - 

I can’t sink,

it’s impossible.

This lake is a winking eye

hinting 

at the things I left behind;

your touch, that hydrated me

so I stopped looking 

and revealed.

 

The water swells hypnotic 

and I feel the pressure of the bank.

Across the lake’s expanse 

pandanis hum and sleep 

waiting for the earth to tilt 

their bodies and the buttongrass

towards the watersmeet.

 

 

//

This pool is one surface 

broad and flat,

that from the air would tell 

a different story.

Several pools live in me, just 

existing 

at my finger tips and every concave cell.

 

This lake always existed.

It was waiting for me then,

that time I turned away

from you.

It was the amniotic fluid 

surrounding me 

and my mother’s innocence -

it was the impression of form, 

the relationship 

between ideas. 

At that moment, if I don’t succumb and stay

it’s because I can’t persist. 

 

The cry for aching self engulfed

was too hard to resist 

in all moments, 

except this. 

While you might call, Shadow Lake

while you might need nothing from me 

and the bird’s view sees 

that you are a cell  

a branch

a tributary,

this collection of moments, flanks and tips 

meets your ancient depths

weighted equally.

I cannot be in you any less than you are in me.

 

 

// 

I’d like to say it’s just about you 

but it isn’t.

I mean every tear I cried had filled this lake 

and I was born here one time or many 

times 

and at every other place.

 

I walked back down the path, 

away from Shadow Lake.

I didn’t undress, touch my toe tips,

surrender 

or conform to it.

I walked back down vastly, broadly

knowing myself hasty at times – 

unrepentant, imperfect.

 

When I finally swam it was at the meeting of two rivers.

I don’t know their honest names

but their waters at my lips 

tasted pure -

actually sweet.

Not like the slogan on a bottled water,

not like the solidity 

of your arms, the broadness of your feet.

Not like memories that would carry me somewhere

far from here,

but a clearness 

that was like a death - 

a beautiful, straight-forward 

forgetting,

 

like fingertips on fingertips. 

Megan Kimber is a writer who lives in Melbourne, Australia. She studied literature and comparative religion at the University of Queensland, where her focus was on close reading and critical analysis of poetry. She completed an honours thesis in Sociology at the University of Tasmania that examined the social discourses relating to land use in the Tasmanian forests. Growing up surrounded by nature, her poetry is informed by and interrogates the relational practices between people, society and the natural world. Her poetry has been published in Meniscus Literary Journal. ‘Shadow Lake’ was written in Lake St Clair National Park in Tasmania.