By Amy Durant
They flew away from home,
these lost boys. They didn’t
want to grow up. Home was
dragging them into careers,
responsibility, lives that looked
very much like their parents’
before them; they felt the noose
tightening. They put on their
top hats, grabbed their teddy bears,
and hit the air.
They were promised Peter Pan, but
cannot seem to find him.
They wander aimlessly waiting
for someone to offer some guidance.
They go through Wendys like
paper dolls: each sent packing when they
start to nest, start to make their treehouses
more like homes. They want a mother,
they want a lover, they want a maid,
but they don’t want strings tying them down.
The grass is always greener.
They want childhood with benefits.
They complain about there not being
enough money, food, the shelter being
too small or too expensive. They stay out
all night drinking and singing, looking
for someone to bring home before the sun
peeks over the horizon and shows that
these boys are growing up, after all:
wrinkles are showing around eyes and
mouths, their clothes grow threadbare
from lack of care, the teddy bear falls
apart in a flurry of stuffing and the top hat
dissolves all satin and stitching.
Peter Pan went home and runs his own
Fortune 500 company; he married Wendy
and they have boarding-school children who
don’t know how to fly and have no interest
in doing so, anyway. The boys-turned-men
wander, waiting, waiting, crowing echoing
into the night;
they are no longer boys.
They are just lost.
There is water here.
A friend told me once
those of us that cry easily
were born by the water.
Our tears rise quick
as we make an attempt
to slip, slick,
back beneath the surface.
Ray takes me down a path
edged with trees. I ask him
where we are, but have
already forgotten the answer.
Something plays in the river
that could be an otter,
we think, or a beaver. Ripples
join others, becoming waves,
breaking up in dazzles of dragonflies.
Come on, he tells me. There’s more.
We turn a corner.
Oh, there is water here.
I ask him what this is.
This time, I remember:
Lake Ontario, he says.
I live here now, I tell him. This is my home.
He laughs at the delight on my face.
I have seen both the Atlantic
and the Pacific, I have been swallowed
by the vastness of both and yet:
there is something in me,
the ghosts of those that have come
before, perhaps, or just my
deeply flawed heart
that yearns for the dark secrets
kept safe and deep in lakes.
Ray knows when it is time to be loud
and when it is time to be quiet.
He knows I have no religion but this:
there is water here, and I am lost in it.
A storm is coming, crossing the divide
between shores like a petulant child
in seven-league boots. We
stay as long as we can, until lightning
sketches cryptic warnings in the sky.
I am moved to tears by this:
the yawn of this lake at the end of nowhere, this
friend who knew it was what I needed,
this day of treeshadow, sand in my shoes,
and water refilling me like a thrift-store glass.
Amy Durant lives in upstate New York and works as the Digital Editor for an award-winning daily newspaper. She has been previously published in places such as 3Elements Review, Rose Red Review, 200 Proof Magazine, Ascent Aspirations, and jmww magazine. Her book Out of True was published in 2012 and she won first place in the 2015 North County Writers Contest for her poem “Sagamore.” You can follow her on Twitter at @lucysfootball.
Photograph “And Sometimes There’ll Be Sorrow” submitted by Christopher Woods, a writer, teacher and photographer who lives in Houston and Chappell Hill, Texas. He has published a novel, The Dream Patch, a prose collection, Under a Riverbed Sky, and a book of stage monologues for actors, Heart Speak. His work has appeared in The Southern Review, New England Review, New Orleans Review, Columbia, and Glimmer Train, among others. His photographs can be seen in his gallery – http://christopherwoods.zenfolio.com/. He is currently compiling a book of photography prompts for writers, From Vision to Text.