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October 2013, vol 8, no 3

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Glenn G. Coats

Crossing Miller's Bay

Hammers are ringing. They tap like birds on the islands. Cottagers straighten sheets of metal roofing that folded like sleeves in the winter wind. Ice pushed the shorelines into rows of low hills and collapsed boathouses. "The lake always wins," a neighbor says.

haze at dawn
machines that will not start
in a heron's voice

Fishermen turn their engines over and move boats slowly through the shallow bays. Engines sputter and stall from last year's gasoline. The spring wind is cold. White heads drift like fog across the channel and lines drag through the deep water for pike.

Each year, there are fewer fishing guides and fewer tourists. The lakes grow quieter and quieter. Eagles have returned to nest in tall pines and a moose was spotted swimming across Wolf Lake. Coyotes howl at night in the village cemetery. The big pike that fill black and white photographs on lodge walls have yet to return. The old fishermen still believe they can find one, maybe a walleye. There is nothing else.

wind-bent cattails
the sparks he sees
in waves

evening thunder
the red
of a fallen pine