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Lake Effect
[December 19, 1996]

Snow piled on rusty hoops
powdery bundt cakes shaped to perfection,
winter's way to make our mouths water
for the inedible.
I have heard from Ojibwas
that snowfood freezes viscerally,
man made windigo, flesh of our flesh,
no substance in splendor,
our eyes lie, a hard learning.

Lake effect and fate
defy prediction, come nights
without convection or conviction,
chill factors in the Kill Zone,
a black buck paws corn stubble
against a wind-row of black pine
south of a farm village
among pigaloos, pork quonsets,
covered with snow, like powdered sugar,
jelly rolls, I think, fooled again.

Holly spines sputter red
from swales and gray dips,
five crows hop in line
silently, I find tracks of rabbits
ending suddenly in the open,
have they flown, left the birds
to their burrows?  In the distance,
a chainsaw eats under winter's sun,
the one with no heat,
like all else these days, all show.

I watch my water from afar
I see fish there, still,
sit on a fresh stump, piss a mist,
let warm coffee warm my hands
remember a brook trout taken
briefly on a small fly on a day
when truth could be found
and snow had gone back
where it belonged, anywhere but here.

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