We Drive Nine Hours

by Anne Marie Holwerda Warner 

to the Porcupine Mountains
to camp in mid-nineties heat 
with black flies and no lightning bugs.

Thunder comes the first night but never rain.
Pray for a north wind is the lone consolation of the campground host.

Hiking: attempted, but a weak link sites anxiety and tight shoes while her upper lip sweats, her topknot flops, her braced teeth seethe. She’s hunched over roots of hemlocked foothills. 

There are moose in these woods. But our sighting list includes only five toads, two pollywogs and a cooler-dumping bear that punctures milk, eats plumbs, leaves the pits. 

And yet: that Great Lake—
the chillest, most voluminous—
lives up to her name. Superior. She astounds, astonishes, exceeds all things. 
Tread her clear waves and you’re not cold. You’re alive. Stand still among the bends of textile-esque regality, plumes of her navy blue dress up to your neck and clearly see your toes on the sandy bottom—as if only sun-catching air were between the upper you and the lower you. 

Let her tumbled, earth-toned stones yield pressure against your arches as you stand generously social-distanced while the bone of your bone and the flesh of your flesh balance on an amber-wet driftwood pine trunk and study the lines in a green rock, then a purple rock, then a rock born for skipping. 

This is why you came.

Anne Marie Holwerda Warner is a Chicago carpenter’s daughter perched in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her poetry has appeared in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Moonchild, gravel., Q/A Poetry, Ghost City Review and Earth & Altar. Her work is forthcoming in The Hour.  K. Nizar, a multi-disciplinary artist from Kerala’s Kozhikode, who began his career on movie-sets doing art works before becoming a visualization artist for a leading newspaper in Kerala.