red canoe on lake surrounded by trees
Creative Non-Fiction

Red Canoe

I could stretch my arms into it, but still never fit the full force of this human form through it—the window. The photo. I would rise in the night, with the air conditioner on and the walkway lights casting a cold glow into the room, and reach for the frame.

What I crave is the nose of that castaway canoe amidst a sea of unnaturally still water, almost amniotic. I want to be within something like that. The wood is arching, curved to a red point that says spearhead. Dimness suggests that the canoe is lost, visceral and afloat in some dark liquid.

I rise in the night. My heavy human form swamps the basin of his hips. I glance over. There is a figure in the canoe, so that for a moment, it looks like I am inside where I cannot go. A ghostly bending of light. A reflection distorted by the shape of the bow. But just for that moment, the sharp edge of me tastes the soft inside of him.

But I am only the vessel, not the captain. The spear but not who hurls it.

Then he bucks and overturns both of us into the water, and all of that was silly. All I can feel is the touch of the water—hotter, wetter than I expected—and his body near me. I can’t see the photo at all anymore. 

Lynnie McIlvain
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Lynnie McIlvain is a Clark alumni who has been previously published in the Phoenix. She is a nonprofit employee and writes academically and creatively to supplement her soul.