from my window

you know lake Mendota still sings
            under its frozen flesh in January.
you know you can’t wash a song out.
            you know the salt
boiled out of the dead sea in summer
            must make some kind of music
when it swallows the feet of a couple
            of kids playing in the sand,
no clue one day they will anchor,
            drown, wade swollen blue to shore.
I thought to warn them, but who am I to ruin
            the best hurt they’ll ever know?
what is love without threat
            without good reason to fear or run?
what is a lake if its waves do not hum?
            what is the skin’s salt water
with no one left to savor?
            what is a song if no one will sing it
into an ear they’ve memorized
            the taste of?

Danez Smith
from Echolocations, Poets Map Madison, Cowfeather Press, 2013