October 1


It's so hot my knees are burning through my jeans.
From the opposite shore comes one gunshot,
the first day of moose-hunting season.
The lake has that smooth creamy texture
of chocolate pudding before its skin has set.

Another shot - practice for the hunter?
death for a moose?

Thirty-five miles from here, a 17 year old kid
climbed into a tree where he both shot and hanged himself.
No note, no one willing to say why a high school hero
was no hero to himself.

I've moved from the chair in the sun
to the chair in the shade.
I hear another shot and overhead
an amphibious plane making runs to nowhere.

It's cold where I sit now. I need my hat again
and my chamois shirt, yet I want to shed everything
for one last defiant swim.

Yesterday I swam but that was still September
and you have to know when to quit.