Lake Houses

By Maren Larson

Five pairs of bored child feet loll on the backs of
car seats
And seven voices sing:
“Buffalo soldier, dreadlock rasta, stolen from Africa,
Brought to America.”
Eyes half closed, catching snatches of red and orange and orange
tree green
flashing through my empty head.
With a gasp and a chorus of swiveling necks
The trees give way to houses,
Castle-in-the-air houses.
Houses dreamed of by children:
Tree houses;
Stilt houses;
Pink houses;
Houses that wish they were bungalows;
Houses with swings and bridges;
Every one hangs over the water.
Five child faces press against the glass
As Paradise-by-the-Lake floats by.
The last thing we see is a ready and redly gleaming skiff
Anchored at a spindling dock
And one small boy with a stick and a hat,
Waving.