On a spring night of crescent moon, a woman negotiates a long wooden stairway down through birch and oak to the beach. Wearing shoes because the night is cool, she plods through damp sand. An hour after sunset and Lake Michigan still reflects a tinge of pink, but soon the sky totally darkens, and she can see nothing, not a single wave. But she hears the lake sounds, at first, even and rhythmic, but soon joined by one like the rush of wind through the eaves of a cathedral, a far away wailing.
Something large splashes quite near, scattering droplets of water on her jeans and eyeglasses. As the wailing gets louder, she shuts her eyes, and can now distinguish individual voices. Some high-pitched, others low, one swelling with a mezzo-soprano’s grace. She accepts these siren songs as invitations, come-hither pleas from wandering sea creatures endlessly searching for their home. It’s only five yards to the lake, and she races over the firm sand. When the woman lowers her head beneath the lake’s cold surface, she notices music, an underwater symphony, more melodic than any she’s ever experienced. When she surfaces to breathe again, the stars shine upon the water, clear and bright, easy to skim with her hands.
weeks of cloud cover
sickle moon now faces
the wrong way