The Lake Has No Saint

by Alejandro

Author: Stacey Waite
Publisher:
Publication Date:
Genre: Poetry
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Within this chapbook, there is the poem “when i do not want to say anything about the bridges”. The reason I love this poem is because even when we think we’ve planned and organized our lives and the situations we expect to encounter, life finds a way to obliterate all our illusions of control, and we find ourselves in the middle of situations we cannot expect.

or about the land of sweet water where my mother
can not bare the shadows of light fixtures, she
can not bare the suburban quiet. her neighbor
sets raccoon traps beside the aspen tree,
which has been cut back away from windows.
there is little to say of the ocean which she cannot
feel. i am not always sorry to return.
sometimes i imagine myself to the courtyard
of my high school. everyone is named “jodie”
or “rachel.” the boys smoke around the flagpole
with their milk cartons and long hair. this is a
town with diners. no ravens, no steeples,
no hard rains. you wouldn’t have liked it
though you wouldn’t have known you didn’t.
you can not put your feet in the ocean without
money. you can not learn or breathe without
money. you can not learn or breathe with
money-breathe without trains, without
becoming a mistress back in the horse trails
where the cut machines were sometimes kept.

“this is a/ town with diners. no ravens, no steeples,
no hard rains. you wouldn’t have liked it
though you wouldn’t have known you didn’t.”

The poem, like much of Waite’s work, starts in the middle of the action, as if we, the reader, have been at the speaker’s side all along. There’s a sense of longing and melancholy that we cannot always articulate, but the poem walks us through the speaker’s understanding of some potential reasons; we know the speaker is conflicted about family and coming home. We are asked to consider the difficulties of reconciling who we are with where we’re from, and that’s not always doable.

As the title suggests, sometimes all we have to do is acknowledge these tough-to-navigate shifts in our perception of home and family (and by extension, in ourselves) and understand that sometimes “[we] do not want to say anything about” it.



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