Leveler Poetry Journal
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The Lake Dwellers


I shake from ill omens to find myself in the lake.

The birds around my neck fall-silent.

My bones are hollow as the oracle.

My head is high as the tide where you wash your feet.

The bliss of that ignorance was worth your hand.

Where are you when you wake?

Ask the gulls. They warble like tops

to that house out there on the island.

Did the lake rise to meet it? The gulls

know; it is passed down in their mythology.

Someone must feed the goat on the island

surely the fish do not dive into his mouth

crowded with bicuspids.

Every year we hear a story. Accompanied by a picture

a sharp white bow smashed up

against it’s makeshift coast. The father gives his forehead

to the wheel and his young son hears “baaahh bahhhh”

as his eyelids warm his cold eyes.

The island eats them up. That house is worn

with salt-less water and it’s paint is rust and blue.

If you squint your eyes as you pass it by

it bends into the sea.

The hardwood floors are gnawed with fiberglass.

The windows work for the rain.

The goat wakes from ill omens

to find himself hemmed in by the lake.

The bones around his neck fall silent.

His birds are full as the oracle

and he sorts their songs all summer.




Josh Bauer