Sylvan Lake

for colleen and her cottage

VWing up the last


downshift to second

turn to dirt roads

tamarack pines in still green water

bank the edge

to let a jeep squeeze by

returning lovers

ride the wind

dinner is a curve away



a glacial dig bore Sylvan Lake

tore from the frigid earth

a shrieking tribute

of frozen dirt and splintering rocks

and left them guardians

of a fertile holy place

filling slowly the bleeding scar

with dying tears

dropping down

and perhaps living there still

at the bottom

where I’ll make you

of poems

where summer will never end


her cottage    A-framed    cedared

and smelling of fireplaces

summering maple and split pine

burns the night with early desire

coloring books    monopoly

and last year’s reader’s digest

late of peter pan land

we never used wires

violently praying for sun



morning green waking sky

early fisherman dance quietly across

a virgin lake

the sun sets on fire

alligator trees


glacial dumps rim Sylvan Lake

hills more green than the deepest water

dropping down

through harsh thermoclines

where I swam searching the bottom

and wasted

bubbled helpless up

to high green against hungry blue


bumpy firelanes patchwork the woods

rolling right to where

the Muskegon cuts a deepdown bed

of scrub pine and barefoot sand

sucking straw-like from weeping hills

sapling spring water

between blue toes

and into oxbent currents


then running even farther

along the smiling ridge




barefeet in sinking sand

up hiking hills

synagogue green,

cycle ruts

narrow path through high pines

battling an invasion of mosquitos

till the next patch of sun



till we reach the highway

snowmobile runs on the other side

dune buggies—


and disappear


then heading back

for a swim before lunch

barefeet sinking

in warm asphalt



frowning smiles

brown and beautiful

swimming towards me

hair that begs summer sun

and laughing eyes

that I love to poem



jeep trails walk the deep forests

even at sunset

when railroad tracks and rushing       sky

couple by the altar green

mounting the moon

by mosquito light

and moaning out the summer heat


while we search for five pennies

that the six o’clock from Muskegon

has given a new life


sunset sliding

through alligator hills

evening gathers across the lake

walking to the bridge

we are as quiet as sleeping children



morning is a sleep away

a sweet roll and a cup of tea


tonight’s logs

will build tomorrow’s fire


the lake      the sky      the hills

will be there   to start again


dawn will pull them through



midnight fire

at lake’s edge

red coals glow the sand



an inner light

between us



Sylvan Lake Afterword