Swollen Lake

Of the Isles. Share,
yield, shorten
leashes indefinitely. Don’t
run over the butterfly
or dragonfly or
moment. No one complains. Take a wider
breadth. The drinking
fountain is an island
in standing water
you can’t reach—for now.

Sets Her Right

She almost settles
for a blank page. At the last
minute, she drops

ink—no coloring
inside or outside
the lines. There are none.

Just a geometry
of faith in some kind
of muse. Be it green-tinted

goslings growing by
the second in the grasses
along Lake of the Isles. Or,

some other miracle
still capable of bursting

on the scene upon our poor
wearied planet.

Almost Thaw

She waves to the engineer
as an abbreviated freight train passes by—

heading southwest. She’s running
northeast now on snow

and slush. Could be quicksand
in spots, could be something

to complain about. But
she’s already said “hi”

to a XC skier and a couple
of women with dogs. Already made it this far

nearing the north end
of Lake of the Isles

without getting frostbitten
or falling down. May as well lean

in and call it
January bliss.

Lake Effect

What if
one of those 10,000
got lost—would it turn
up across town
tucked between
the circular one
and that snake? What drains
her tonight
will relieve
her some morning
down the road—a mysteriously
winding one. Could have been
stolen, could be returned
before dawn.

Islands of Virgin Woods

A stack of canoes banked
on a rack beside the canal
between two lakes is a chain

gang of my former lovers. Release
the bungee cord fasteners, free
one from the group to use. Glide

through flat water
on a sunny afternoon till it turns
into black sky and heavy rain. Plunge

the paddles, pick up the pace.
If I don’t return
this one, I won’t get another

one to damage—or
be damaged by.