Much Is Made Here of Water

Beware, I’d heard, the staring into it too long,

excessive water gazing made much of by him,

for you may find yourself doing a header,

never coming back up, lose yourself in over contemplation,

go soul blind peering into the vastness.

In my mind Lightfoot ticks off his list of Great Lakes,

brush strokes characteristics, most often I hum this one,

sing Lake Michigan steams like a young man’s dreams,

not quite recalling now the meaning anymore, then ah,

understanding it absolutely, remember peering into it

in my early 20s, young enough, I mean oh so damn young then than now,

how I tried to follow friends in, dive right down into it,

break the plane between here and there, and I couldn’t

stand the cold any higher than up to my thighs,

struck there staring down at my legs rippling in the clear water,

how my feet were planted on so much shifting gravel,

my time in the Midwest, a precarious balance

between want and could have, have me not,

them, natives, splashing in the frigid water,

I, the outsider, did not get into it over my head,

my heart stopping me at the numb below my stomach,

repeated tries to wade in deeper, push on in,

my breath shorter for so much of forcing my way in,

my breath a stream of steam, and out there too,

Lake Michigan’s steam rolling, fairy fine ladies

dancing above the surface, like me

like vapor escaping liquid, running away and up,

like me, escaped alone, to know

in the end how it was absolutely crystal,

and I awoke long gone from the lake, all distant so

that dream to me now of then and none.

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