The lake is still, a shimmering glass mirror of time,
It tells no lies, what you see is what you get.
From my little cottage by the lake, I see everything:
Geese migrate, kids playing, time passing.
As I get older, I like to have proof of it too.
I see a little girl, no higher than my knee, toddling to the edge of her dock.
She stares down into the depths of the water, unaware of any danger that might exist.
For her mother’s hand holding hers tightly is a secure anchor, one that will always be there,
Safe and sound, forever.
But time changes everything, so that there is no forever.
It moves as quick as water through your fingers, disappearing as fast as you caught it,
Leaving you only with a distant memory of what it felt like to hold it, if only for an instant.
More water dribbles through and there she is again, around eight or so.
Her hair is a short strawberry mess, the red locks just hitting her shoulders,
Her face is dotted with freckles, her dimple smile full of gaps and crooked teeth.
She runs to the edge of the dock, stands for a moment, watching the currents around her,
Then she dives in, clothes and all, a perfect arc into the mirror.
She emerges, gasping for air, her hair shiny and longer than before.
She swims around, laughing and splashing, not having a care in the world.
I want to stop time and just keep this moment here, forever.
But time doesn’t wait for anyone.
Time is the glittering sequins in jazz costumes, catching the light for a moment of glory,
Then fading away, into a box in the attic, never to be seen again.
The shores of time rise and fall, and years later I see her again.
She bursts onto the dock, giddy and breathless, in a light blue summer dress.
Her strawberry hair is longer now, tumbling down her back,
She is taller, has the face of a young teenager, her smile accompanied by silver braces.
She is a young woman, not just playing with mother’s makeup but wearing it properly.
She turns around and smiles, and I see a boy her age join her.
He whispers something to her, and she nods slowly, slipping the dress over her head.
They dive into the water together, unclothed, for the world to see.
They splash and swim around, giggling and flirting, learning and growing.
He leans closer to her and they kiss under the moon, their hands entwining in the shadows.
Someday, she will look back on that, when her life is far along,
And feel what she felt like in that moment, excited but nervous, unaware of time.
But time keeps moving, never stopping, even if no one notices.
Fleeting moment after fleeting moment, they add up, one dropp at a time.
The lake stays the same as the girl grows older, and I see her time and time again:
When she is dressed in black on the dock, holding her sister’s and father’s hand,
But not her mother’s.
Drops of time stream down her cheeks as the coffin is dropped into the dark water.
The saddest time of all, the tears we cry, but try to dry, as time goes on.
When she is beautiful on purpose, her red hair done up, her makeup overdone,
Wearing a short stylish dress, covered in sequins, too many ruffles, and a corsage,
Her arm linked with a young man’s arm, smiling as the camera flashes again and again,
Capturing her beauty and the lake all in one shot.
But my favorite are times of calm, when the waters settle down for awhile,
When time seems to stay still and catch its breath, stopping to look behind.
When she sits out on the dock, in grungy jeans and an old shirt,
A book open in her lap, Her hair falling over her face as she reads page after page.
She is most beautiful in those moments, when she is not trying to be.
Time could have, in those moments, stirred something up, or just kept running,
But for some reason it stops when it sees her, learning and growing.
Eventually time shakes off its second of weakness and disappears in a blur,
But for an indeterminable amount of time, it notices the ways of nature.
She goes off to college, and years pass.
I watch every day to see if she’s back, but she is off on her own now.
I am an old woman when I see her once more, and this time makes me gasp.
A fully grown and matured woman, twenty-seven, steps out onto the dock,
A sea of white covers her freckly skin, the long ivory fabric making her a goddess.
The veil that covers her face cannot hide her beauty, or her happiness.
A man follows her, his eyes never drifting from hers, not even to take in the lake.
He saw it years ago, and even then only saw her as they swam together in the moonlight.
Her eyes are enough for him.
The rabbi that follows them starts off the service with a speech, but they don’t hear a word,
A whole conversation being spoken in those two pairs of eyes.
At last the vows are exchanged, and the veil is lifted, revealing her,
Revealing the little girl I saw all those years ago.
As they kiss, my eyes fill with tears and I’m overtaken by sadness and joy.
I never knew this girl, I don’t know her name, yet she means the world to me.
And seeing her grow up, well, I didn’t do anything, I just watched
As time worked its magic, making another miracle.
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.I would like to translate this poem