Describe the ripples on a lake.

First, disregard the word shimmer,
too rapidly, it decays into simmer,
then slimmer, slumber, suddenly slum,
lumber, snicker or worse. It will not
stand, it will dissolve upon reflection.

Beware the words wash, wave, lave, dash,
for they will not withstand the toss of one
into the other until all that is left is dander
and lather, as they ladder into each
other in discord with pitch and variance.

Forget scintillate—it sets the same trap
as iridescent and brilliantine. Discard
dappled, flashing, sinuous, prismatic,
though all susurrate, the pronunciation
will not sustain amplitude or frequency.

Ripples on a lake must be teased from
each word to present themselves not just
as they are—but who they are—to describe
ripples each must be acknowledged as an
individual—then ripple’s message will be clear—

each one says, “do not be discouraged.”