I know immediately what Mary I. Cuffe means in the poem “Night Fishin” when she writes:

at the end of the street was the lake

a blue you wanted to belong to.

Who hasn’t felt a desire to belong—to people, to a place, to colors. As someone who grew up next to a lake (but not “on” a lake), this poem made me think of sneaking down to swim in a place that I didn’t “own,” but certainly belonged to. I think of Turtle Lake during a full moon when Cuffe writes:

You never seen a thing so calm under your hand

as a lake at night, in the summer.

This poem deals with the our physical relationship to space and to others, even when that intimate “belonging” is forbidden; Cuffe isn’t afraid to explore the danger of that.  The speaker and her sister “stole the lake” while they stayed in an unwelcoming neighborhood with “stiff-assed robins.” This exclusion from the lake makes the speaker’s love and knowledge of the lake by the end of the poem that much more powerful. This hidden love, this stolen love, is dangerously close and dangerously real. What do you want to belong to like that?

To read more from this fascinating collection (and get 10% off and free shipping while it’s still our August “pick of the month”), order a copy here.