The Lake

by Lynn McGee


He was a therapist outside Boston. 

He was a therapist with fingers thick

as eels. He was a therapist

outside Boston with a belt that cut

into his gut, and a gut that churned

with the girls he had swallowed. 

He was a therapist outside Boston 

who peeled the layers 

from a woman I loved. He peeled 

her sweater, her T-shirt,

his hands slick as snails 

over tight, tomboy breasts. 

Hour up. 

Hour up again.

Hour up and years go by, 

her hand is in mine, 

my hand is in hers— 

we’re walking through

the West Village toward literature,

theater, and one day, there he is,

a therapist from outside Boston, 

a few rows ahead. My lover

freezes, a rabbit in tall grass, 

but I follow him at intermission,

stand quiet as a lake

at the bottom of the stairs: You’re

that therapist from outside Boston

He looks down at calm water, 

my young face, nods and smiles 

at the attention. 

You’re that therapist outside Boston

who makes his patients

take off their shirts, so he can fondle

their breasts.

His smile snaps

to a straight line. He looks left 

and right, rushes back

into the audience,

ushers his wife and child

up the aisle to an exit and looks back 

at where I am standing,

the lake grown deep and ruffled 

with wind.



Lynn McGee

Lynn McGee is the author of the poetry collection Sober Cooking (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2016) and two award-winning chapbooks: Heirloom Bulldog (Bright Hill Press, 2015) and Bonanza (Slapering Hol Press,1996). Her work appears in the Fall 2017 Potomac Review and recently, in the The American Poetry ReviewSouthern Poetry Review and Storyscape. Lynn's full-length collection Tracks is forthcoming from Broadstone Books. Lynn lives in the Bronx and rides her bike whenever possible.