monica wendel


The green lake, snow-speckled, absorbing
the noise of cars and trains like a metal body
trying to rouse itself – and when we emerged
to air, first the sight of men asleep on gravel –
faces hidden from cold –

and then the water, ice broken and refrozen into a map
of its own self – and we marveled at the thing
we had earlier seen when the plane broke through clouds –

that night I dreamt a wave of this water
broke over a sand cliff on Long Island’s North Shore
and woke to darkness, and warmth,
tops of branches visible through the window, but no lights on –

when, later, it rained, the ground’s chill froze it into pebbles
clicking on the sidewalk like high heels, we said
aren’t we lucky, to not be out in this, to be
inside, the lake a vortex of wind
it was wind but it was more, ducks rose and landed in
the water’s unfrozen bits, was it a swamp
before, was this river a canal, how long ago
did glaciers push through a continent and stop again
and push again to create what we could not have created,
waves over the cement pier, tides like an ocean
did they think it was an ocean, the first ones here,
or did they know it would end?

As of 2014: Monica Wendel is the author of No Apocalypse (Georgetown Review Press, 2013) and the chapbooks Pioneer (Thrush Press, 2014) and Call it a Window (Midwest Writing Center, 2012). She is assistant professor of composition and creative writing at St. Thomas Aquinas College.

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