poems as hand- and foot-holds on a glass mountain

Floaters

this dock sits where and when I sit
a few paces out over a bordered lake

whose outward pacific pose is for the comfort
of the inattentive and distracted

now and then ruffled by frog talk
this morning a single low call

all vowels with slight consonant edges
a rural commentary from a true outlier

two syllables or one broken in half
a large sound from a small speaker

it is the pond news broadcast
well, we see the news for ourselves

it is commentary
I scan the lake for floaters

but the bodies have sunk or are too small
to show themselves to a naked eye

during the plague years loaded wagons
would drive the streets calling; bring out your dead!

there are hints of writhing and seething
just below the surface

hints of or imagined sea monsters
of ghosts from old shipwrecks in distant oceans

using the waters common; when I travel
the pond follows me, a bullfrog rowing

floating just off the ground through obstructions
as though neither it nor they were substantial

these hardwired streets and parking lots
fetid airwaves, frozen prairies, forests burning

or were symptoms an eye disease
floaters in a field of vision

eye-mind images that aren’t out there
like mirages, hallucinations, or cultist denials

or memories; a startling thought
we count on and by memories

frog and pond seem to occupy
a singular inward stillness
where flow when felt all but vanishes

in the center of any moment
a flat spot almost a pause

the pond seems to be chuckling now
or maybe it’s the bullfrog

whose call now sounds
more than a little like ‘floaters’

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