(previously published in the Nebraska Review)
Inside the heavy tents
on Lake Winnebago, beside cars parked
on the frozen water, the sons of Appleton
sleep to the pulpy smell from paper mills
while their fathers, who've talked about
everything there is to talk about, talk
about the Packers' first round draft options.
Back in Appleton, the roar of the Fox River
can't convince anyone of a way out.
If you listen you can hear
Bob Buchannan's famous declaration: I've seen the future,
and it's paper. Some waters are frozen
and some are not. The Harry Houdini Museum
is a big place and hard to get out of. Young girls dream
of Harry finding them in a lonely corridor.
Harry begs them to follow him, and they do,
to a place of no winters, where no one's father
makes paper. Where no one's father is unable
to find his way
after too many absinthes at The Harry Houdini Lounge.
Where no cars sleep on ice. Where sons
don't icefish, daughters aren't stuck home
waiting. Like fish
paved over by winter.
Sitting In the Sun
On summer Sundays
at Nomahegan Swim Club
people know us.
People know us,
and when they pass our cabana
they begin to say hello.
They begin to say hello
because we've belonged
for nineteen years.
I'm not sure why.
No one's allowed on the high dive
because someone's daughter fell
off and needed reconstructive
We sit in the sun a lot.
Maybe if we sit out here
long enough, we won't look
like ourselves anymore.
sun ( ( (
Dirt is warm
Aphids drink (the sauce of plants
My lover learns (how sun becomes as possible as creeping snowberries
What will splash (in winter thaw
We will splash (in hush of white on white