Shanty Musing

Fastening the suspenders
on the Woolrich bibs
on the way 
 to load the Jeep
at 5:00 A.M.

Dark as a dog's throat
with that stillness
 only apparent
in the deep of pre-dawn
winter.

Violet,
the elderly Italian neighbor
bundled outside of her garage
suspicious gaze towards
 the drifts in her drive
likely mumbling an
invective to her plow man
to show early
or face scolding
accentuated with
boney pointing finger.

The dog pisses
making a steam billow
and decides without fanfare
returning to bed
is without question
 more prudent
than any external destination
in five below.

Sipping coffee on the road
to Chequamegon Bay
the Bad River yet in darkness
he eyes a Native ice house
latern light reflecting on
the frozen river as
he imagines the inhabitant
in an ancient pursuit.

To drive the Jeep on
the tenuous cover
of the world's largest body of fresh water
that just months before made
welcome to his boat,
was simultaneously
both odd and appealing
without fear of rapture.

The auger bores
in the crystalized barrier
 leaving a cone of ice chips
to be spooned away
in haste
reminiscent of the
syrup flavored sno-cones
of his childhood.

The hum and glow of
the propane heater
like an airport beacon
in the early morning darkness
Finnish Hali Spoons
are subtly twitched
as submerged marionettes
who in moments
produce a yellow perch.

Henceforth, it is his time
to become absorbed in 
a present moment
mindfully deployed
from difficult thoughts
which slide into the
caliginous silence
under the water
and leave him
in temporary respite.
K. Carter