Slow Skim

Between the center two
in those chain
of lakes—a channel
becomes a fish

back with ice
floe scales fanning
and breathing
to an invisible

rhythm. Is it the wind
that whips across
unobstructed Calhoun
to get trapped

beneath the overpass?
Or, is it a boat
wake delayed
by suddenly plummeting

temperatures, eventually
rippling through? And
a quiet sloshing
against concrete embankments.

They Stare at the Spider on the Ceiling

Twenty years ago
social and media did not slow
dance together. We lived

two blocks apart and wrote
letters to each other—sometimes typed,
sometimes handwritten

on the back
of band flyers. Rode bicycles separately
to meet at civil twilight

beside a bench
on the west side of the lake. Carved
our initials into its weather-softened wood

back. Rain could not erase
the way we believed
we could entwine ourselves

into a protective web
to keep echoes of residual melancholy
at bay. That was the summer I became

precious cargo. I hear you are
a happy man now—and I still refuse
to dust corners or become graffiti.

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.

Toward 26th & Lyndale

Common Roots not the CC
these days. Urban beavers, the storms
of early summer leave barricades

to lake connecting channel paths
I want to follow. I bless
reversible steps—duck and dart

back through without
a scratch. Not going to play pool
in a darkened bar on a sunny afternoon

the way we used to waste
time. I’m still learning the definition

of precious. You’re in it—
and gone forever.