David Magill


At the Lake

The lake is black
until the caps of white waves
turn, spilling the water back down into the current.
Catfish guts and editorials line the shores,
the scent of chicken liver and cigar smoke
mix in the wind.
Wooden oars bounce off the bottom
of the aluminum boat, sending
an echo along the shore.
A church steeple sits in the clouds
beyond the waving oak tops
and a small fire burns dreams
into the sunset.
A tin cup of bitter coffee to his lips,
he watches the boy swim
near the orange buoy,
slapping his hand at the waves.
He sets the coffee down and
crawls along the sand and dirt to the side of the boat
and ties the stringer to the minnow bucket.
The radio says it’s going to get
cold tonight,
a northeaster coming through
before sunup.
He looks at the far shore,
searching for a memory
and sees nothing.
He wipes the knife on his shirt
and cleans
the last one.
He is lost inside his heart
and the boy
is unaware.

DAVID MAGILL born in Kansas City, Missouri, moved to Minnesota as a young boy and grew up on a hobby farm in Afton. He has been married to his wife, Patti, since Aug ’95. His work has recently been published in Metonym, The Esthetic Apostle, Cagibi, Swimming with Elephants, Dreamers, Wanderlust, Sky Island Journal, Rock & Sling, and Burningworld Literary Journal. He has also been nominated for a Pushcart prize in poetry for 2019.