The Lake

The lake appeared and he would not see it,
though water was there where none had been before.
It spouted from the pavement and the dirt,
rising with a quiet, steady threat.
The neighbors built dams to keep their walkways dry.
My father criticized their new decor
and made a point to keep our doorway clear.

The lake appeared and closed in on the house.
The surface of the water began to swirl,
drowning plants that never wanted to swim.
The neighbors traded in their cars for boats.
They waved at him but he just turned away.
All at once our home became an island.
My father swore it was only a mirage.

The lake appeared and burst through the front door.
It ruined things that once seemed matter:
photos, books, computers, and coffee pots.
I tried to save his favorite pair of shoes.
He would need them if we ever found dry land.
My father threw them back and said with rage
that this wasn’t any of my concern.

The lake appeared and surged through every room.
The water seemed to make the whole place shrink,
stealing the spaces that made it feel like home.
My mother said my sister and I should find
our futures away from this shipwrecked house.
We promised them we would come back to help.
My father asked why then yelled to stay away.

The lake appeared and he cannot see it.
He refused his eyes so long they’ve given up.
The lake consumed our house some years ago,
and now it wants to pull him to its depths.
My mother treads the tides to keep him floating.
My sister and I swim in whenever we can.
His days and nights are marked by rolling waves.
Today my father whispered, “I feel wet.”