Great Lake Prayer

by Danny Daw

 

Our pickup whinnies to a halt
On the anemic shore. My boots
Slink into cold sand, coal-black,
Flecked with sterile clumps of grey.
Surging the curling brush,
A muddy fog of mosquitoes
Swells in tandem
With the stained-glass
Surface of Lake Erie.
The briny air is tinged with the stink
Of dead trout and dying magpies
Lining the coast, drifting
In the water, shaping themselves
Into strange and familiar forms.
Bluegills erratically array
Like stone paths, luring us
Closer to the murky graveyard.
The smelt resemble a crescent moon,
Orbiting a distant black island.
Boring through the smelt, a barrage of carp,
Like a nail in the hammering waves.They drill deeper and cut
The moon in half, an explosion of silver
Slime gleaming across the water.
An acute wind slaps
The lake’s surface, contorting
The waves into eyes, ears, mouth.
The fish burst from this new face,
Multiplying and oozing out
From every slimy pore.
Gazing up into ashy skies,
A spiritless rain begins
To pepper the waves, the taste
Of dirt and moonlight
Seasoning our tongues.