Skip to content

Michael Sowder – Ⅲ

Ludington Beach, Lake Michigan 



The beach was a field of ice,

thick enough to walk on, though now

and again your foot broke through to sand.

We pulled our hoods around our eyes,

making tiny windows on the world.

Wind roared in over the surf, flattened

the down against our bodies, so my love

and I steadied each other as we walked.


Into the blind sun and minus-zero wind

you could look for only a moment,

but you wanted to look, for the wind

lifted the waves, and the sun

struck the risen water green

like cut glass that shattered on the shore

as if white were the essence of green.


Fish appeared beneath our feet,

thousands, identical—with silver sides,

sapphire bellies, and dark gray fins,

blue comets as far as you could see

frozen in every expression of fish life:

leaping, wriggling, squirming;

groups darting to one side,

others strangely arranged

in pin-wheels, spirals, bracelets at our feet.


In the distance the lighthouse that marked

the trail to our cabin stood an hour away,

so we hiked upon the glittering bodies,

across a jeweled cemetery,

an illuminated manuscript

we were tongueless and terrified to read.