It’s gray outside. Gray inside me. A thought
full of dripping clouds. Dingy to boot. Dim
sway. Dim tumult. Trifling waves that trot
along the lake shore. Shades too cold to swim
in. All my life I’ve fled winter drizzle’s
bliss. Now, even in my sick bed, I spurn
those vast rains from Canada. These crackles
in my lungs are just like a “Nor’eastern” ––
all foam, blood and drift, sundering pain.
In my sick bed I hear the ‘plash spume hiss
each time I breathe in. In my sick bed you
ask how it goes? Listen. That’s frosted rain
in my breath. Once I could’ve weathered this.
This time there’s no safe harbor to flee to.
I live near the shores of Lake Michigan. Cyclones out on the north Atlantic are called Nor’easterns. It’s a fitting term to use here too, though there is a difference. Because the lake is so shallow (compared to the ocean) any winter storm coming down from Canada almost always turn extreme, generating riptides, huge waves and freezing temperatures. Often the danger for sailors is not drowning out on the lake but freezing to death.