To see old Mahlon rowing across Chain of Ponds,
his boat spilling over with weightless strips
of fuchsia Styrofoam for one of the new cabins,
startling the foraging bats flitting in the dusk
who had never heard such a color before,
we fretted that the new hue was some sort
of harbinger, a portent of some quiet incursion,
but maybe we were a mite previous seeing
signs of the end everywhere, the coming
of the dreaded autres, but didn’t know (how
could we) as we rowed and waved in the
wild’s low silence toward our own small
cabin with its kerosene lamps and outhouse,
that not the wilderness but you were soon
to be among the missing, you were going?
How could we know that, as you helped guide
me through the two rounded boulders marking
our landing spot and I pulled gently on one oar
and then the other to get us safely to shore?

                    —Alec Solomita

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 40 Number 3, on page 32
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