Ross Martin

(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
facial surgery.
We sit in the sun a lot.

Maybe if we sit out here
long enough, we won't look
like ourselves anymore.

Aphelion Done

     sun  (   (   (

Dirt is warm

Rains come

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