Leveler Poetry Journal
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Lake Monster

There is a man-made monster

in the man-made lake. The surface

is too shiny for comfort, it looks like

it is sleeping like a perfect infant

in its coffin. Water is supposed to be

blue like cauliflower and wholesome

like fields of wild grain blowing in

the salad days of the American memory.

Not black like the oil of the American

dream machine. The automatic thrashers

and mechanical meat separators. I’m

developing swimmer’s ear just listening

to the lake not lapping on the concrete

shores. I’m developing body hair and

opinions on women in the adolescence

of my American summer camp. Opinions

on women and opinions on older boys.

On justice and punishment. And horseplay

makes the monster move beneath the water.

And the older boys are like sharks in their

smoothness, their body hair appearing

out of place and brushing your leg

like the weeds beneath the surface that

grace your toes and make you set records

for speed back to the dock. The monster

is smooth too like a sharkskin and the boys

are sea mammals hunting in packs by

the man-made filtration fountain where

campers are forbidden to climb but

boys will be wolves will be sharks

with octopus puckers and squid beaks

and tendrils that whip out from under

black water and wrap around your ankle

and pull you under where you can’t see

or breathe but wait but wait but wait.

Joshua Schneider