Lake Sunrise*

In the center of the water

waking lies a tiny c-shaped

islet hiding from the sun

while the sky begins

a warm crescendo.

A stand of thin pine

stalls the leeside breeze

so still the creases

early gulls create

across the virgin bay

are so clear and finely

cut the naked eye

can trace their trails

perfectly a mile away.

Thick mist shifts west

almost imperceptibly

the moment the flame

appears shimmering

like golden gauze

behind a brush of poplars.

No one knows the instant

the sun's firm shell

dissolves and bursts

above the canopy

with such a force

it spikes a path

all the way to shore.

Its brilliance pains

the eye to look away

and wonder how suddenly

things can change.


Jerome L. McElroy


*Touchstone (Fall 1996).