Search for Bride Suspended

by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

Here is the boat hauled up to shore, moored on a pile of sand,

oars modestly together on one side.

Netting spreads out behind the empty motor mount like tail feathers.

The water near shore is used, full of spent shell casings,

old-fashioned pull tabs from vintage beers, spark plugs and razor blades.

You would have to be drunk or out of your mind to wade there.

A man wades there, reaching into his net.

The news photo is grainy but he is about to realize

the hand he has grasped belongs to a severed arm.

He'd kept dredging the lake not because someone was missing

but because he found such interesting things.

A slow day in the newsroom when he became the local color.

In the boat, vivid cigar bands promise his future to his lungs,

snake eyes bake on the middle seat, and in the water,

a blue racer with babies spills from a high top tennis shoe.

The hand will not let go of his hand. A flashbulb pops.

A spring sends up a boil of bubbles and this thought:

if it weren't for the picture, I could have kept her diamond ring.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske has had her flu shot and hopes to remain healthy during her sabbatical from Kellogg Community College. She is a Michigan native who has never wanted to live elsewhere. Her most recent book is Dominant Hand from Mayapple Press (2008).