Motorboat Blondes

My kayak rocks in the motoring wake of blondes
that ski the mountain weather in cross-bluff
streaks on the disappearing eastern branch
of Crooked Lake. Their pilots, aging boys
with mustaches (and flagrant with their beers)
lean fast against the wheel as speedboats bank

and break the heaving water on a bank
of mirrored pines. I hear their engines, blondes,
and bows ramp into open straights, the beers
held high and tight as mist obscures the bluff
and wipes this lakeland chromosome of boys
to shapeless cloudy streams. They pour the branch

from Penn Yan into Hammondsport, the branch
from mystic Branchport’s hidden clapboard bank
into the very hump-backed waves the drunken boys
have cast across my hull. Behind these, blondes
are falling down and playing blind man’s bluff
amidst a caving churn in frothy beers

of surface water, lolling in the biers
of sinking afternoon and shades of branch
and blade. The common Main Street shuck and bluff
of Skaneateles, the “Board” and “Bank,”
mean nothing in this greening bed of blondes,
this screaming with the gulls on soaking buoys.

The sirens in the wake of rescuing boys,
reacting with the gasoline and beers,
are overweight. The rouges and the blondes
of local vineyards course their lake-wet branch
of breasts and glide like tongues the bank
of thighs. They’ve cigarettes on their breath. The bluff

will bed them, hold them in its underbluff
of sediment as motors cut and boys
pull back, as rain sets in and night clouds bank.
I paddle past The Switzerland, where beers
are tapped at wooden bars and cloud cuts branch
at kayak’s prow. I hear the call of blondes

and lose the shore, the laughing blondes a bluff
and echo where the steely Branchport boys
down beers and drag their towlines to the bank.

On Keuka Lake, August 5, 2008

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