north shore recovery
There’s nothing to see here. Only the faint red
tower light blinking. A series of hoof-prints
dissolving in trees. Clouds curl up in the heat of my breathing
and a man on a snowmobile glides through the darkness,
carving the shore on the far other side
of the lake. Wrapped in a thick coat, black-tinted helmet,
what is he searching those distances for?
Where is he going with so much
intention? Gunning the belt over wind-drifts
and ditch-berms, riding alone through the cattail patches
and emptied-out sloughs of the night.
The birds have quit feeding. The squirrels are somewhere asleep
in their rotted-out holes. The moon lets the stars
do the bulk of the shining, and wind sidles down in the crowns
of the pines. I imagine the fear
in the cold hearts of muskies, slowed to a suicide pace
at the springs. Hearing the grind of that overhead engine.
Staring up once in a while at cracks
where a small strip of brightness comes through.
Kai Carlson-Wee's "North Share Recovery" and "Riding the Highline" can be read in the print edition of The Arkansas International 3.
Kai Carlson-Wee is the author of RAIL (BOA Editions, 2018). He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and his work appears in Ploughshares, Best New Poets, New England Review, Gulf Coast, and The Missouri Review, which awarded him the 2013 Editor’s Prize. His photography has been featured in Narrative Magazine and his poetry film, Riding the Highline, received jury awards at the 2015 Napa Valley Film Festival and the 2016 Arizona International Film Festival. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he lives in San Francisco and is a lecturer at Stanford University.