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2 poems by Paul Stephenson


This lake is aching.

This lake is creaking.

This lake is coaxing hikers.

This lake is a hoax.

This lake has been hexed.

This lake is vexed.

This lake is vacant.

Sorry, this lake is taken.

This lake is not a book.

This lake is not a token.

This lake’s a mystic.

This lake’s a mistake.

This lake is overcooked.

This lake is leaking.

This lake is teak veneer.

This lake is queer.

This lake has been spiked.

This lake has spoken.

Infidelity (The Credits)

It starts with a close-up

of choppy surface ~ the fluid suggestion

of undercurrent and waves building ~

of boats being rocked and rocks being lapped

before pulling back ~ zooming out fast

to show water so vast ~ a large salt lake

or boundless ocean ~ some fathomless body

you could sink a lifetime into.

It ends with a frantic departure,

the lead actor seeking other pastures ~ the viewer

taken back to that earlier surface:

deep, dark water, now stiller, calmer ~ before the names

rain down from breaking clouds,

one upon the other and into the ground,

and as you stand to leave, the making of

unfolds ~ locations, permissions, score.


Paul Stephenson has published three pamphlets: Those People (Smith/Doorstop, 2015), The Days that Followed Paris (HappenStance, 2016) and Selfie with Waterlilies (Paper Swans Press, 2017). He co-curated Poetry in Aldeburgh in 2018-19 and interviews poets at


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