Water, Water Everywhere
Children and pregnant women
should avoid eating yellow
perch, bluegill, inland trout.
No one should eat the muskie
from Lake Monona. Last summer,
boys dove into the lake’s belly
under a full moon. Behind them, the city
lit the shore, and from far away, I could see
what I was missing. After years
near the ocean, I’d been dreaming
of clean water surrounded by trees.
When I came home, I needed
a car to find that water.
On the shoulder of all the highways
I took to find it, the faces of bloated deer
were painted pink. Each road
was soaked with blood
until it rained. There were no children
running through the fields
as I’d imagined. The beach I live near
in the city is clean enough
for mallards, who live here year-round
and rest in pairs in the garden.
My backyard is big, but squirrels
empty the feeder before cardinals
can find it. Cats dig up my pansies.
Weeks after the screech owls nested
in the tree across the street, the tree
was sprayed blue and cut down.
I began counting
the feathered-bodies on curbs
and center-lines. As I drove
to work, watching the honey locust
lose its leaves, fall skipped winter
completely, and the lake,
cold as a restless baby,
was afraid to fall asleep.
from Echolocations, Poets Map Madison, Cowfeather Press, 2013