The Drowning Lacks Drama


We slip across the border,
unaware we’ve entered Canada
until we note that vegetables
arranged in bins in a grocery store
speak French with a certain accent.
We point the car toward Montreal,
but the road narrows, ruts, plunges

into a newly brimming lake.
The cars ahead drive into the drink
and disappear. Un-rippled slick
closes like a trapdoor. The drowning
lacks drama. Should we indulge?
Driving with generous margin,
you park under trees and observe

car after car and two big trucks
sluice into the bottomless dark.
Such glum medieval pageantry
saddens us. Lacking passports,
we can’t attempt a rescue
or even flag down motorists
who don’t notice the lake ahead.

Beyond the lake the towers
of the city rise like totem poles,
teasing ambitions we hate
to abandon. We could cross
this lake on stilts, couldn’t we?
Or swim the mile, or even hop
on roofs of submerged vehicles.

You turn the car around and gun
the engine, clawing up gravel
like a cat in a litter box.
Amazed by your sense of purpose,
I turn up the radio to snuff
the cries of drowning motorists
and prepare for a new dimension.

We won’t call this one “Canada”
or even “Vermont,” but will enter
with seatbelts buckled and faces
tuned to lives we wished we had lived
before digital worlds canceled
the accordion-fold road maps
that resisted random events.