i want to be thought of as water

lake surface smooth

at first i think it is my own breath, visible and rising into the first-sun air

as i stretch on the mat on the deck

but then i notice it – a steam from the days of rain rising off the deck surface, and the cabin roof in the undeniable brightness of sun

and i think a little bit about how that’s what death is/can be like –

how i want to be thought of as water turning from solid to vapor rising

when i exit this world


on this windless morning

how i try to make as little sound/splash as possible

each time i dip the paddle into the water


we love you! i call out

to the two eagles taking off from pine tree tops

(most likely due to our raucous laughter rising from the canoe and kayak below)


kick the cake joolie and i laugh

about the one remaining partial wedge of cake

that we are tempted to toss

into the woods – white frostinged and chocolated cake parts

we think about bears and snacks and not luring them too close to the cabin

that has been emptied of all food save for, like, 50 pounds of sugar in a tupperware


how i could spend all day

at superior’s shore

raking smoothed stones with my fingers

because i want to see every color variation, every texture, every shape


yao yao snuggled into my side

while i read the nighttime books aloud on the couch

it will look like we’re not moving but we are

the great gold light

on pine trunks and limbs

as seen outside the yellow cabin

at 8:10am –

how i watch it from the top bunk

dim and brighten again

with sleepy eyes


ami and i welcoming morning

in the cool air on the wet dock

and eagle soaring in the distance

whose identity is given away

by the occasional flash of head/tail white we see

when ki turns in a certain direction


like thunder shirts joolie and i joke

about the life preserver vests

we zip and buckle on


hawk-eye daisy amber says

about the red/a little orange wildflower

sprouting up alone at the old homestead site

on our way back out to the gravel parking lot


the gingham and rainbow shine patterned pencils

that i select from the geocache

on kid’s island

whose surface is covered

in the tan/goldorange

of fallen pine needles


it will look like we’re not moving, but we are – mostly ami says

from her steering spot at the back of the canoe

while joolie provides the motor in the front

thirty degrees is the angle you want to be at to the waves on a windy day


solitaireing on the floor

while we each take turns talking

and i find that i don’t like hearing

what i’m saying –

maybe because it all just sounds like old patterns

that i’m ready to break out of

ranging from tiny to small

water beads

ranging from tiny to small

collected on the backsides of fallen birch leaves

pressed flat onto the dark gray gravel road we walk


the air a drizzle-mist

out over the lake

moving horizontally and northwards


how we walk out

in the buzz of conversation

and walk back

in silence:


wet air

bending tree limbs

ground squirrels

coming alive in the quiet


busting a gut

around the kitchen table

at the photo app

that gives us beards

or scrunched-closed puffy hoodies

or watermelon heads

or lazer eyes –

the weirder the better


the big tree fallen

across the gravel forest road

how we are able to separate ki’s soft self

into moveable pieces

with our hands and feet

leaving enough space for a car to move through

low-fiving ferns

the ongoing joke about the comfort cart (a little wheeled caddie that we pretend ami is packing because it’s her comfort cart and she likes to take it wherever she goes, but really it’s just a caddie she’s taking up to the cabin to leave in the bathroom)


the thundering froth/rush, red with iron (and chocolate-milk-y too)

of the st. louis river

whose waters are high this year

lined with slate rocks, jagged in their up-angled arrangements


the full fall pallete of leaves turning in the distance –

a 70s golds and lime-yellows and orangey oranges and greens and an occasional red scheme

how it all looks so good rising up from the edge of the turbulent water


fingers to moss

palms to lichen

low-fiving ferns

and the briskness/crispness of air

inhaled as we move along (and stray from) the wet paths sometimes matted with leaves

i am fed


how we pull the canvas chairs in a semi-circle

around the small but warm fire glowing in the tear-drop shaped stove

and dine in its warmth,

bowls of warm peanut soup in our palms as we sip and slurp and stare off into the heat


the glow of ami’s face in the candlelight

as ami and amber present the belated cake


the hot sting/burn on our fingers
near the end of the garlic fields
we move through with blue five gallon buckets,
snapping off scapes
and dropping them in


these words were written
in the middle of
twenty four hours of snowing

juniper disappearing down the back hall
scurrying with a package that just arrived
and reappearing with a tissue paper wrapped heartshape
so we take the opportunity
to lounge on the living room floorbed
and eat bon bons
still hard from the cold
juniper and i laughing
about the nervous breakdown i had
in the chips aisle at the minneapolis co-op
which is different than the nervous breakdown
i had in the library
which is different than the nervous breakdown
i had at choir practice
which is ridiculously hilarious
probably due to the fact that none of them
were actual nervous breakdowns


out the front window
watching the glittering
and swirlings of snow in the wind
after dark
while an oak leaf skitters and tumbles across the
wind-sculpted surface
from the water world:

Syrian displaced people carry water canisters in the flooded Deir al-Ballut refugee camp in Afrin’s countryside, along Syria’s northern border with Turkey – the telegraph, Credit: Rami Al Sayed/AFP/Getty Images

we move through scenes

on the walk through the weird suburbia setting

fleece leggings on under running shorts

this friolenta surprised at how 23 degrees F

can seem actually not so cold


a half hour into the train ride

from milwaukee to chicago

where we move through scenes of stripped trees (a brown that is gray) and a coating of snow,

the white giving dimension to all the browngray

chris and i discussed what we knew about what’s happening in yemen

in the car to the station

photos of children dying of starvation i said

and now, hurtling through this winter scene

john lennon’s happy xmas war is over song playing

in my headphones and how is it that this is the first time i’ve heard the war is over if you want it war is over now portion of the song after all these years (probably, thanks to the headphones – the sound so close to my ears)

and what a heart break

a grief

a withering part of the collective us

to know it’s wars instead of war and it’s never over

seems it never will be