MARCH 14, 2018

Into the Busy Sky

“The little boy wants to fly like the wrapper from a hamburger, all brightly colored, into the busy sky.”

   – Louise Jenkins, from “West Wind”


Into the Busy Sky


How many more fishing shacks can still stay level on the thinning March ice is hard to know.

Tilted and slender, old truck wheel tracks lead up to their entrance.

But no trucks today,

the sun is the kingdom, has taken over,

and a hawk just down the track has let us know with an unreal squawk

that doesn’t seem to match its squat, fiery, wild body.

“Do you think they are still inside them,” my daughters asks,

and I can just about see what might be a puff of smoke still trailing up

from the makeshift chimney out of one of them, close to the shore, hopefully shallow water.

“There’s no way to tell, but they could be.”

We walk along the quiet railroad tracks, over the tall bands of bare iron,

and try to avoid landing our feet on the unstable quarried rocks,

landing instead on the wooden cinder blocks.

“If it got warm enough in one of those shacks, I wonder if the fisherman would fall right through. Don’t they build fires on the ice?”

Who could help it, I pictured the spring-eyed crappy,

slipping out from behind a sunken oak trunk

so to dabble at the last flickering glow of a fire ember as it sank down to the muddy bottom.