The black water.
Lights dotting the entire perimeter.
Their shaky reflections.
The dark tree line.
The plap-plapping of water around the pier.
The creaking pier.
Voices in conversation, in discussion—two men, adults--serious inflections (the words themselves just out of reach).
A rusty screen-door spring, then the door swinging shut.
Footsteps on a porch, the scrape of a wooden chair.
Footsteps shuffling through sand, animated youthful voices (how many?—-distinct, disappearing.
A sudden guffaw; some giggles; a woman's—no, a young girl's—sarcastic reply; someone's assertion; a high-pitched male cackle.
Somewhere else a child laughing.
Tires whirring along a pavement . . . not stopping . . . receding.
Shadows from passing headlights.
A cat's eyes caught in a headlight.
Connect-the-dot constellations filling the black sky—the ladle of the Big Dipper not quite directly overhead.
The radio tower across the lake, signaling.
Muffled quacking near the shore; a frog belching; crickets, cicadas, katydids, etc.—their relentless sexual messages.
A sudden gust of wind.
Branches brushing against each other--pine, beech.
A fiberglass hull tapping against the dock.
A sudden chill.
The smell of smoke, woodstove fires.
A light going out.
A dog barking; then more barking from another part of the lake.
A burst of quiet laughter.
Someone in the distance calling someone too loud.
Steps on a creaking porch.
A screen-door spring, the door banging shut.
Another light going out (you must have just undressed for bed).
My bare feet on the splintery pier turning away from the water.
-- by Lloyd Schwartz
(from Cairo Traffic, University of Chicago Press)