Issue 11

Monona, Monona

 · Poetry

                                                after Iris Cushing

I am a lake of very small things 

sealed: frozen 

fishhooks, car gears, cans, airplanes, 
what knives I’ve held…

When they swim to my center, they see
the worth of my walked-on water. 
It thins. Their wrists 

have nails. I’m swallowed up 
upon the surface this lake reconciles 
around. My hard magnet lie.

Because tailbone tunnels 
crimped against winter
carve through to thermoclines I cannot 

place until spring parts the ice’s side…

Because my heels make another 
head press down in 
to the powerful melt…

This same lake was an age 
of ice. The dark discarded 
shore starts and thins 
to it. Otis Redding pulls 
smooth thickness through 

the underside of that effort
by which he draws

heat beneath the air I died in.

This poem samples and rearranges words from Iris Cushing’s poem “Because This Winter I Am the Same Age Otis Redding Was When He Died” from her book Wyoming (Furniture Press, 2014).

Return to Issue 11