this is winnebago.
paper industry run-off, prehistoric sturgeons, and dad’s ashes.
i left it 15 summers ago and then returned, her face cracked with ice and snow.
22 feet at it’s greatest depth and sometimes half of that frozen. and if you’re lucky, freezing temperatures
and wind would meet on a december evening, and we’d awaken to the wall of waves.
jagged and fierce, mocking memories of summer gone. eight great feet of ice separating shore and vastness.
and then the ice moans. i swear a monster lives in her belly, brought to life by ice fisherman
waving cases of beer and sharp spears above her. my feet on hardwood floor would shake as she made herself known.
and by morning, same feet, this time moon-booted, would run down to the lake to see
the newly formed crevasse. sharp and eager, a horizontal lightning bolt
made of dead leaves, bugs and endless stories of midwestern lake.
it’s not a lake to us. it’s the ocean.
if you can’t see across it, and it’s waves bury your
worries of small boobs, pimples, and god, then it’s grand enough for you.
sit on the dock indian style and she will hear every
thought. jump in and she will heal you.
doesn’t matter that in august there is a turquoise blue,
1inch toxic film of algae and PCBs.
swim in her.
and at mother’s day an apocalyptic swarm of lake flies
hatches from it’s depths, and smothers it’s green blood
on your windshield and the soles of your shoes.
swim in her.
dead trout turn belly up. is it old age or
will she do us in some day too?
keep on swimming.
i would die for this lake.
though it’s silly to say because she’s invincible.
she continues to roll her body to shore.
swallowing our family’s ashes, one by one.
pour yourself into her.
unconcerned with our stories
she still carries us all.