Manitou

       John Swain
White pines rising from vast lake,
cormorants roost in the empty hull
of a ship aground in the shallows.
Bird stench and lilac, far water,
the dune towers below Carp Mountain,
sand slides to the shimmering lake.

Roots, sand cherry, arid flowers,
the pyramid of sun a basking snake.
With no one to be,
the fixed knife touched red apple flesh.
Then I showered in the lake in the rain,
scent of armpit in the deep gulch
where the deer wade, loons call.

Black lake, black lake waves like sea,
red lightning shifts the horizon,
the agate shore eroding, tall dunes
the color of coyote, a crouched bear
uplifting sky-hidden day-stars
for a cairn,
the world immense beyond my sight.


John Swain ,

lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He has published two collections, Ring the Sycamore Sky (Red Paint Hill) and Under the Mountain Born (Least Bittern Books).

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