To the Lake Isle, and Step on It

David Dayton
Jun 20, 2022


Young bearded man sitting on slanted rock jutting into the sea
A previous version of this poem was published in the Southern Poetry Review, v19n2, Autumn 1979.

Even as you are making up something
To tell her (to make it right),
Part of you is itching to get lost —

Find your island,
A rock on the cliff above the beach
Cut off from the lights of cars

And the starry eyes of couples
Passing as single shadows. As a child
You’d retreat to the hall closet,

Sit Indian-style under the coats,
Beside the vacuum cleaner and boots,
Making plans: working things out

Neat as a geometric proof,
Then, listening to the fall of dust,
Go woolgathering in the mothball dark —

No one to call your name
Or with the gravity of a stare pull you back,
The door you thought locked, flung open.



David Dayton

See Here, you’ll find draft chapters of a memoir and drafts of poems to be published in a book on Amazon.