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Summer Ancients

Today's poem is Summer Ancients by Matthew Bernier. It is read by Julia Bouwsma.

Summer Ancients

A snapping turtle drifts past stolid wooden docks
disguised as a floating log, its sunken knothole eyes
leering at a lakeshore awash with reflections of pines
and light cracking as morning twists its kaleidoscope;

the reptile’s devilish tail and clawed feet occasionally
breaching a lake surface constellated with pine pollen,
the huge snapper’s mouth breathing, neutrally buoyant,
summer’s warm water holding less dissolved oxygen

as colorful, dangling ties of bikinis waver in the lake
like so many strands of recently uprooted Potamogeton;
someone cleaned a pickerel on a planked dock last night
and lobbed viscera into the water as if making a wish,

and the turtle swam across a cove under moonlight,
not knowing that I, too, in that summer without faith,
felt monstrous and ancient, as if struggling for breath,
dragging my mossy back through this modern world.