No Boats on the Still Grey Bay

But a hundred yards out a bevy of swans
drifts like scattered sheets of paper.

Rain bands trail a purple squall
off to our south. The lake has receded

since last time my wife and I were here.
Squirrels have pitted walnuts

and spat the blackened shells in the sand,
and the county has knocked down

my favorite poplar. It’s good weather
to be a swan or a husked shell, I think,

cold but not bone-cold, windless;
to be a doe galloping down a gravel road.

Sarah watches the murky horizon
through her lens. She’s unhappy

with the pictures she’s taken.
There’s nothing to focus on out there.

I hop from the stump of the poplar
to a chunk of rabbled concrete.

Good weather to be a shoreline dressed
in stone, I think, disguised

as my better self, for once. To be sober
as the gun-metal waters near the shore.

Cal Freeman was born and raised in Detroit, MI. He is the author of the books Brother Of Leaving and Fight Songs. His writing has appeared in many journals including Southword, Passages North, The Journal, Commonweal, Drunken Boat, and The Poetry Review. He is a recipient of The Devine Poetry Fellowship (judged by Terrance Hayes) and winner of Passages North’s Neutrino Prize; he has also been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and creative nonfiction. He regularly reviews collections of poetry for the radio program Stateside on Michigan Public Radio.