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There is No Lake

A split branch twisted into torch. I wait
for music—poke apart the charred parts
and drag my letters through the ash.
By afternoon, it is the world that is on fire,
while my campsite darkens, a saucer of dim.
So brightnesses reduce my eyes to listening:
there’s the soft-water sound of paper
being torn as geese touch down—
there’s the one syllable of their union.


                     At a certain troubling,
water turns the dock below the dock
into a staircase, and then back again.
I go to have a look. My mother
is a wavering waving, taking a step,
and then taking it back. I ask her
where is the book called Michigan
Esses but she has melted over spears
of lakeweed—she knows nothing
of Michigan Esses. A crow takes off
as she does, for the pine halls
of the other shore. For tree-birds, it seems
so much of the world is unusable.