Poem: “A Home Away From Words”

A Home Away From Words

I slip my lanky self into the silver-smiling lake 
   and swim along the shore
to watch the lakeweed sway, green and grey, 
   and swarming, fleeting fish
the size of sardines and salad plates.

I stop to rest on a rock shaped like a mushroom, 
   slick with hairy green moss,
where I try to stand until I slide off
   and stroke back through pondweed
sprouting up from the darkness below 
   where dead trees lie,
sodden, broken, and studded with shells.

In the distance I see my love on shore, 
   reading, and watching out for me.
He knows I have a yearning sadness in my heart 
   that eases when I swim on and on
without thinking, into the arms of the woman 
   I become, caressed by water,
my home away from words.

Freya Manfred’s (she/her) tenth book of poetry is When I Was Young and Old from Nodin Press — including the work above. Her memoir, Frederick Manfred: A Daughter Remembers was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award and an Iowa Historical Society Award, and her second memoir is Raising Twins: A True Life Adventure. freyamanfredwriter.com