bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
82 degrees

Another hot day. Tomorrow, 20 degrees cooler. Windy too. I could feel it rushing past my ears. No panic on the bike — my brain has adjusted to my current state of (not) seeing. As usual, the bike ride back felt faster (time and speed) than the ride there.

5 Biking Things and 5 Swimming Things

  1. sewer construction all around the neighborhood — half of the street was blocked with trucks or huge circular holes in the pavement or pipes
  2. biking past the falls: they’ve patched (only) part of the potholes on the bike path near godfrey, the rest are still bumpy
  3. the creek on the other side of the duck bridge: mucky, stagnant, low — yuck!
  4. passing under the duck bridge, biking slowly and carefully, I heard a shuffling noise but couldn’t see anyone for a few seconds. Oh, there they are — a walker on the other side of the path
  5. a sound like rushing water near the bridge over Lake Hiawatha — I’m pretty sure it was wind. So much wind!
  6. blowing up my safety buoy near the bike rack, a man said, it’s windy out there today! when I responded with some noise — a grunt? — he added, it’s making you work for it
  7. swimming one direction, being pushed from behind and (a little) under, swimming the other direction, slam! straight into little walls of water
  8. screeching seagulls near the shore, honking geese on the other side
  9. stopped at the farthest white buoy to adjust my nose plug: a big splash less than 25 feet away — was it a fish? a boat? a fishing seagull? something menacing about to swim into me?
  10. more ghost vines below me and a wandering swimmer that I think I actually saw and didn’t just imagine

swim: 1.5 loops
lake nokomis main beach
82 degrees

Very choppy and surprisingly cool. With all of the 100 degree weather, I thought the water would be warmer. Opaque water, deep near the white buoys, shallow near the orange ones. My shoulders felt strong, my calves a little strange — sore? ready to cramp? When I finished my swim, I stood, then sat, in the shallow water and looked out at the lake, wondering if this would be my final swim of the year. What a wonderful season!

writing while walking (some sources)

Coastal scientists describe a coast as fractal—dividing infinitely into smaller and smaller increments, all the way down to a protruding rock, a tide line, or even a boot track that fills with water and extends the water’s edge. In retrospect, I would define the relationship of coast to poetic line much as you do. In practice, though, I arrived at the form by creating it, abandoning others that felt unrelated to the landscape or its foot-feel. There are rhythms to walking on rough ground, a step-after-step persistence that swallows obstacles, like irregular lines that nonetheless carry forward through the poem. There’s also a sensory excitement in a sea-rock-light-wind-bird-flower-seal-seep-peat-rain-salt—oh look, there’s a whale!—environment that subsumes attention to any one thing into the press of the whole. I don’t compose on foot as Brian Teare has described in his essay “En Plein Air Poetics,” but I share what he calls the “proprioceptive ecstasy” of oxygen-filled blood and an unlocked mind.

from The Syntax of Sedimentation: An Interview with Susan Tichy

I think I need to order and study — a monthly challenge? — Tichy’s North | Rock | Edge

One of the primary ways I make ecopoetics an active practice is by drafting poems on foot in the field.

Writing while walking makes explicit the intimate relationship between a site and my body, and though writing while walking obviously privileges language as its end-product, it derives that language from relation lived through the physical especially.

En Plein Air Poetics: Notes Towards Writing in the Anthropocene / Brian Teare


bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
70 degrees

Biked over with Scott to the lake on a beautiful morning. Even though you might expect the opposite, it’s harder for me to bike with someone than biking alone. Sure, when biking with someone they can alert me to potential danger, but if I’m following behind them, I can’t get a clear view of what’s far ahead of me. And that’s bad with my slow reaction time. But, I didn’t care if it was harder today; it was nice to bike with Scott.

I wasn’t giving much attention to the world as I biked, other than trying to stay safe. Can I remember 10 things?

10 Things

  1. a bit crowded on the trail — most of the bikers were going the other way
  2. wind — it made the biking a little harder and yelled in my ears
  3. a single-file line of bikers riding north. I could see the headlight from the first bike from far away. Not sure, but I think it might have been a group of “silver” riders
  4. an even mix of sun and shadows
  5. more cracked and crushed acorns on the sidewalk
  6. the creek is low, almost dry in some spots
  7. the crack just past nokomis avenue on the edge of the trail near the tennis courts looks bigger — wider? deeper?
  8. a thwack from the pickleball court
  9. errrrrrrrr (the squeak from some bad brakes on a bike)
  10. arriving at the beach, admiring the glittering water

swim: 2 loops (10 little beach loops)
lake nokomis main beach
72 degrees

As I was walking into the water, carrying my small yellow life buoy that I tether to my waist, I’m almost positive I heard someone — at first I thought it was a kid, but it might have been an adult — say, okay we can go in the water now, the lifeguard’s here! I wonder how long it took for them to figure out I wasn’t a lifeguard. Why wasn’t I ever a lifeguard in my teens? I don’t know.

The water wasn’t too cold. As usual, it was opaque. Hardly any visibility. The only thing I could see were more of the ghost vines, haunting the bottom of the lake. Also, the faint form of the bottom of the white, cylindrical buoy — ghost buoy. I felt the ghost vines more than I saw them. Mostly quick sharp taps on my ankles, one time softly wrapping around my hand and wrist — Come with us, Sara, down below! No thanks. I tried staring down as I swam, but nothing appeared — no lake bottom, no fish, no ghost vines.

The water was very choppy on the back half of the loop. Difficult to see and to breathe, but not overly tiring.

I kept thinking I was seeing kayaks off to my right side, but it was only the tree line, or was it ghost kayaks? Yes, the fall is coming and I’m increasingly thinking about ghosts.

Swam for almost 45 minutes, but it felt like 5 minutes or no time or all the time dissolved into lake water.

10 Water Things

  1. a soaring seagull
  2. a circling plane
  3. flashes of pink in the water from somewhere — probably my brief glimpse of a buoy
  4. little waves smacking into me, from the front and the side
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 breathe left 1 2 3 breathe right
  6. the silvery white bottom of the safety boat on the other shore
  7. a kayak paddling by, farther out into the middle of the lake
  8. no ducks or geese or monstrous swans
  9. the gurgle or squeak of my slipping nose plug under water
  10. lining up my shoulders and swimming through the narrow opening between two pinkish orangish buoys


bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
82 degrees

Hot. Legs felt sore, but just sore, not injured. Hooray! Last night my right knee and calf felt weird and I had some trouble walking. I thought about not going over to the lake today, but also thought that I would regret it and that my knee/calf would be fine. And they are.

What do I remember about my bike ride? Buzzing — or were they hissing? — cicadas. No turkeys or ducks or geese. Lots of cracks and potholes on the bike path. Ouch!

on your left — another biker, as he passed me
thank you!

bridges crossed:
the double bridge at 44th
mustache bridge
echo bridge (under)
28th street bridge (under)
bridge over creek, leading to lake hiawatha
the stinky lake bridge by the weir

roads crossed:
river road, entering the bike path
godfrey parkway
minnehaha parkway, at one side of the roundabout
minnehaha parkway, at another side of the parkway
nokomis avenue
river road, by Nokomis rec center

stoplights encountered: 0
light rail trains raced: 1
pickleball courts passed: 1
former tennis courts turned to bike safety courses passed: 1

swim: 1.5 loops
main beach lake nokomis
82 degrees

A perfect morning for a swim! Warm with no waves. Okay, maybe the water could have been a little cooler and empty — there were 2 other swimmers and lots of kayaks and canoes passing by — but otherwise, perfect. The water was opaque and dull yellow. Several times I passed by a vine growing up from the lake bottom, looking creepy and ghostly. I think I’ll call it, and others like it, ghost vines. I saw at least one seagull, dozens of little minnows. Felt a sharp rock at the bottom, heard someone say, anyone need a hairband? after picking one up off the sand. Kept thinking the tree line was an approaching paddle boarder. Mostly it wasn’t, but once it was. We raced each other for a minute, then they kept going and I turned at the buoy. Thought about kicking my legs and following through with my left stroke more. Wondered if my calf would be weird at the end (nope). Breathed every 5 strokes — 1 2 3 4 5 breathe right 1 2 3 4 5 breathe left.

So glad I didn’t listen to the excuses I was making for not going and went. What a glorious 90 minutes of lake and air and motion and life I would have missed out on!


bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
63/70 degrees
air quality: 127

A little cool this morning biking to the lake. Canadian wildfires have made the air quality index rise to the “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” Not sure if it was that or something else, but my nose started closing up mid-bike and I had to breathe mostly through my mouth.

The ride was fine. I had some difficulty making sense of what I was seeing but because I’m always cautious — biking relatively slowly (11-12 mph) and making sure I stay far to the right in my lane, it didn’t matter that I couldn’t totally see what the bikers approaching me were doing.

Some rodent — probably a squirrel but maybe something else? — darted out of the bushes as I biked by and crossed the path just in front of me. Jesus! I exclaimed. Then I stewed over why squirrels seem to have a death wish. Or, do they like messing with humans?

On my bike ride back I had to go around 3 bikers (possibly kids) who had stopped and were spread out on the bridge at the bottom of the hill. They were looking over the side at something in Lake Hiawatha. At first, I wondered why they were stopped at such a dangerous spot. Then I wondered what they were looking at down there? Was it something strange?

swim: 3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
68 degrees

All the buoys were up this morning. Hooray! Bright sun, some wind. By the third loop the wind had picked up quite a bit and there were more waves then I’d like in the water. Hard to be buoyant, to breathe. Today is the last Friday swim of the season. I’m sad that it’s almost over, but I’m also tired and sore and my body — my back and right shoulder in particular — are ready for a break.

10 Things

  1. passing over the rope that tethers the green buoy to the lake floor, looking pale and dim in the opaque water
  2. more flashes, some might be fish, but others might be rays of light
  3. my favorite part of the swim: the stretch between the last green buoy and the first orange buoy
  4. a plane hovering in the sky
  5. reciting the line, It is time now, I said, for the deepening and quieting of the spirit among the flux of happenings, and feeling a deepness and sense of quiet briefly before losing it in the effort to stay high in the wavy water
  6. seeing the first green buoy without any problems — steady and bright
  7. not seeing the orange buoy — just water and sky in front of me — then briefly seeing it in that same spot, then having it disappear again
  8. instead of lining up their backpacks around the safety boat, most of today’s swimmers put their backpacks in the boat
  9. 2 kids swimming and playing near me at the end of my swim. One was obnoxious and was irritating the other
  10. a taller tree in the tree line on the far shore loomed in my periphery. I kept thinking it was a person on a paddle board

overheard: 2 swimmers near the shore, one coaching the other
coach: saying a bunch of stuff about streamlining and force and pushing through the water, then kick kick kick! Now swim to the orange buoy!
coached: I can’t do it! You’re pushing me too hard!
coach: Okay, swim to the white buoy instead

Did he swim to the white buoy? I’m not sure; I started swimming again before I could find it.


bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
75 degrees

Just checked and this is the first bike ride that I’ve done in over a month! I’m not riding my bike much this summer. Hopefully I can change that for the last weeks of lake swimming. The theme for today’s ride (and swim): WIND! So much wind. According to the weather app: 15 mph. I think the gusts were more. Every direction I rode: wind rushing past my ears, shrieking. It made the bike ride harder, but I didn’t mind that much. The trail was not crowded and I didn’t have to try and pass anyone on the way there. Only 3 people on the way back.


Just as I was about to hop on my bike and leave the lake I heard the following exchange between a Dad, his two kids, and Sarah (on the phone) as they stood by their bikes:

Dad: This is Sea Salt, right?
Kid: No, Sea Salt is at Minnehaha Falls.
Dad: Oh no!
Kid: Yeah, I was wondering why we were going this way.
Dad: What’s this place? Oh shoot! Sarah (he talks into his phone), you told us the wrong place. I heard you say Nokomis.

A few things to note: The distance between the falls and nokomis is probably about 3 miles on bike trails, which isn’t that far but would still suck. Also, I’m impressed that this dad didn’t yell or swear or lose it on Sarah. I’m not sure if this Sarah has an h or not, but I assumed she did because Saras without hs would most likely not make this mistake. It seems like the kids probably knew something was messed up, but I doubt they deliberately didn’t mention it to their Dad. Probably they were doing that thing where you know something’s wrong but you can’t put it into words until much later. What’s that phenomenon called? I bet there’s a name for it.

swim: 1 big loop (4 little, super choppy loops)
lake nokomis main beach
75 degrees
whitecaps, big swells

Ugh! So much wind. Swimming north wasn’t too bad. The waves were pushing me from behind. The biggest problem: big waves pulling me down lower in the water, making it harder to stroke. In the last loop I realized what to do: kick harder. It worked! I really don’t use my legs that much when I’m swimming. Swimming south was very hard — straight into whitecaps. I could only breathe on my right side. Difficult to sight anything or to swim fast. Now my shoulder is sore. Still glad I got out there. I like swimming in the morning when hardly anyone else is here.

I thought I saw a pink safety buoy in the water. Yes! Another swimmer: an older woman. She called out, this is fun! isn’t this fun? It was, even if I didn’t quite feel it at the time.


8.5 miles
lake nokomis main beach
70 degrees

I’m writing this several days later. Another nice, low-stress bike ride. Hooray for being able to see enough to bike to the lake when I want!

swim: 1.75 loops
main beach buoys, lake nokomis
70 degrees

Clear, smooth, empty water! Not too cold. A great swim. Encountered a few kayaks, but no fish or seagulls standing guard on the buoys. A couple planes passing above me. Near the end of the swim, two other swimmers joined me. I remember my mind wandered a lot and that I breathed every 5, except for the last loops where I breathed every 3 then 4, 5, 6 — each for half a loop. I felt strong and relaxed and pleased with myself for having fired up to bike over here and swim this morning.

When I arrived at the beach, the bike rack was empty. By the time I left, full. A group of kids, I think. Saw some of them on the beach but I’m not sure where the rest of them were.


bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis
77 degrees

An easy, not scary, bike ride. Was passed by 2 people — one didn’t say on your left, the other did but passed while another bike was approaching from the other way. Stewed over it for a minute, then let it go, happy to be able to see enough to still bike safely. The bike ride on the way back was good too. My left knee barely even grumbled!

swim: 1.5 loops
lake nokomis main beach
80 degrees

A beautiful, uncrowded morning for a swim! If only it had been a little less wavy. No whitecaps, but lots of swells. I was being rocked so much that when I stopped to check my watch after the 6th little loop, I felt dizzy and lightheaded. I swam to shore to stand on solid ground for a minute.

There were a few boats nearby — 2 kayaks + a swan. No other swimmers or paddle boarders or fish. One time, as I swam north, I saw something out of the corner of my eyes, just behind me. I thought it was another swimmer about to pass me, but it was only a wave.

Lots of military planes roaring above my head.

For future Sara to remember: currently reading Less / Andrew Sean Greer (audio book) and The Memory of Animals / Claire Fuller (ebook). Both great in very different ways. Less is strange and fun, tinged with some sadness and regret. The Memory of Animals — about a pandemic much worse than COVID — is scary and unnerving and captivating.


bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis
65 degrees

Biked with Scott over to lake nokomis for open swim. I knew it would not be crowded and that I wouldn’t have any problems avoiding people. I was right. A (mostly) easy bike ride. I could see the trail, didn’t have to make any dangerous passes. On the way back, my left knee started hurting again. I’m sure it’s related to the strange knot/ball I have on the inside of kneecap and how I have difficult stretching to touch my toes with my left leg bent.

swim: 1 loop
lake nokomis open swim
68 degrees

Windy. The water was very active — not rough and choppy, just full of swells. Difficult to breathe to my left. I thought about doing a second loop — I was intending to — but my calf had a little twinge and my legs felt weak, so I decided not to risk getting a leg cramp in the middle of the lake — no thanks! — and stopped at one loop. I’ll swim again on Sunday and do 2 or 3 or more loops then. What do I remember from the swim?

10 Things

  1. the taut rope stretching at a diagonal from the lime green buoy to below the water — swimming a tight turn around the buoy and swimming just above it
  2. the fuzzy flash of the overturned safety boat near the little beach
  3. the view above: water trees sky a few random flases
  4. the view below: emptiness
  5. a flicker of pink ahead of me — someone’s cap
  6. a slash of orange to the side, a few splashes — another swimmer wearing an orange safety buoy
  7. being gently rocked by the waves
  8. feeling heavy, my hips and legs not wanting to float
  9. 2 swimmers standing near shore, taking a break between loops, taking about the course
  10. a tiny twinge in my calf — not a sharp pain, but a gentle reminder: maybe you should only do 1 loop today…remember what happened that time you did too much and your leg knotted up?

walk: 45 minutes
around lake nokomis
70 degrees

After my swim, we had a small lunch at the new restaurant at the lake, Painted Turtle. Excellent. Then we took a walk around the lake, stopping to sit at a bench to watch the birds, the water, the boats. We took the dirt trail under the bridge and over to the other side of lake. Here it feels more like a nature trail, with giant dandelions, excessive amounts of lily pads, and even more birds. Favorite sight: a medium-sized dog proudly carrying a huge stick in their mouth.


Felt a little snotty this morning — not stuffed up, just needing to blow my nose a lot. A little drained. Otherwise, fine. Managed to keep a big distance between myself and anyone else. Plenty of room in the water to avoid others, lots of empty grass right next to the trail when we were walking.


bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
75 degrees

Another day of bad air quality (165). Smoke from the fires in Canada. I felt it a little in my lungs while I was biking.

No worries about seeing as I biked. Relaxed. Just like on Monday, my left kneecap didn’t want to stay in the groove while I pedaled. The tendons around the left knee were aching. Pain, not sharp but dull discomfort.

Nearing the beach it got much windier. The wind! Suddenly I remembered what I had forgotten on my bike ride on Monday — in that entry, I wrote about how I had forgotten the thing I wanted to remember — the wind rushing or roaring or howling in my ears as I biked. So loud! Not quite as loud today, but still vigorous and noisy.

I could only catch a few quick glimpses of the river through the thick thatch of green, but what I did see was strange: a hazy, smoky, barely visible gorge. The smoke was even worse around and in the lake. I wonder what the visibility was there?

As I biked home, happy from my swim, I thought about something I’d mentioned to Scott last night: I’d like to be the poet laureate of lake nokomis. Is this a thing I could do? Maybe I could write a grant to do some sort of public readings/programs around my writing about lake nokomis? Maybe I should start with something less ambitious than poet laureate? Poet-in-residence for open swim?

swim: 1.5 loops (1 mile / 7 mini loops)
lake nokomis main beach
78 degrees

Lots of waves. Swimming north around the white buoys was much easier than swimming south with the waves crashing into me. I liked swimming into the waves, partly because it made me feel strong and partly for how the roughness heading north helped me appreciate the smoother water heading south.

I practiced my new habit (first tried out last night at open swim): when I think I’m done or want to be done or feel like I’m too tired to not be done, I’ll take a short break near shore, then swim one more loop. I did this last night by taking a minute break after 2 loops, and then swimming a third loop. Today it was stopping after 6, then doing a 7th. I’d like to swim longer during open swim — I’m sure I’m capable — so I’m hoping this habit can stick and will help me get to my ultimate goal: to stay and swim for the full 2 hours, from 5:30 to 7:30.

10 Things About the Kayakers

  1. When I first arrived to the beach, I noticed 2 (or maybe 3?) kayakers hovering near the white buoys, just past the swimming area. What were they doing?
  2. Also spotted: the silhouette of swimmer by the far orange ball buoys, only their head and shoulders poking out of the water and a dark buoy — a metal detecter guy?
  3. When I got in the water, the kayakers moved farther from the buoys out into the middle of the lake. Later they returned
  4. It was difficult to see them in the choppy water and the smoky air. I’m pretty sure they could see me, with my bright green and pink cap and yellow buoy tethered to my waist
  5. As I swam I tried to keep an eye on them, imagining scenarios where they ran into me. In one, I was knocked out when they accidentally rowed into me. My inert body floated in the water, held up by my swim buoy
  6. Mostly they appeared as hulking, dark shapes — was it color I just wasn’t seeing, or were they mostly dark?
  7. More dark, hulking shapes appeared in a line — 4 or 5? Was it a group? Were they plotting something?
  8. Near the end of my swim, 2 kayakers swam parallel to me, close to the white buoys. I raced them
  9. Another random kayaker, not looking as dark as the others, crossed right in front of me making me have to stop and wait for them to pass
  10. Even though the voiceless, hulking, hovering, strange shapes seemed menacing it was cool to see them appear as dark dots on the water in my peripheral vision

wordle challenge

3 tries:


twist & turn
tapioca treat
tiresome tract

I can’t remember how often she did it, but my mom made tapioca pudding for dessert when I was a kid. She also made chocolate pudding from scratch and homemade hot fudge sundaes. We had dessert almost every night. Why?

terrible twist
traitorous treaty
tract take over

The Mississippi River Gorge has a troubled history of stolen land, illegal treaties, and destruction of sacred islands. The Falls Initiative is trying to offer some healing.


bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
66 (to lake) / 69 (from lake) degrees

Hooray for new tires! The dappled sunlight was a little disorienting, but otherwise I could mostly see. There was something I wanted to remember about the bike ride but I had to take a few hours break before writing this and now I can’t remember what it was. Oh well. Encountered other bikers, walkers, runners, strollers, and one surrey.

swim: 2 loops (8 mini beach loops)
lake nokomis main beach
67 degrees

An excellent swim! Even with the wind and the cooler air temperature it was great. For most of the swim, I had the lake to myself. It was a little choppy and overcast. How wonderful it is to be able to bike to the lake and swim. No having to wait for someone to give me a ride. No worries about finding a free lane or making sure (and not being able to tell if) a lane isn’t occupied or needing to share a lane with two other swimmers. Free open water.

The rain yesterday must have stirred up the water. When I put my head underwater I could see particles suspended in front of me. I didn’t see any fish but after I was done I heard some kids calling out to someone on shore, the fish are chasing us!!

I counted my strokes from the far right buoy to the far right one: 130. I counted by fours. I counted my strokes from the far left buoy to the far right one: 120, counting by 5s. I like swimming every 5 better, but I like counting by every 4 better.

wordle challenge

5 tries:


A Primer of the Daily Round/ Howard Nemerov

A peels an apple, while B kneels to God,
C telephones to D, who has a hand
On E’s knee, F coughs, G turns up the sod
For H’s grave, I do not understand
But J is bringing one clay pigeon down
While K brings down a nightstick on L’s head,
And M takes mustard, N drives to town,
O goes to bed with P, and Q drops dead,
R lies to S, but happens to be heard
By T, who tells U not to fire V
For having to give W the word
That X is now deceiving Y with Z,
Who happens, just now to remember A
Peeling an apple somewhere far away.

Left-handed Sugar/ Jane Hirshfield

In nature, molecules are chiral—they turn in one direction or the other. Naturally then, someone wondered: might sugar, built to mirror itself, be sweet, but pass through the body unnoticed? A dieters’ gold mine. I don’t know why the experiment failed, or how. I think of the loneliness of that man-made substance, like a ghost in a ‘50s movie you could pass your hand through, or some suitor always rejected despite the sparkle of his cubic zirconia ring. Yet this sugar is real, and somewhere exists. It looks for a left-handed tongue.

new word: chiral — mirrors but can’t be super-imposed

from The Enkindled Spring/ D.H. Lawrence

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.

Repulsive Theory / Kay Ryan

Little has been made
of the soft, skirting action
of magnets reversed,
while much has been
made of attraction.
But is it not this pillowy
principle of repulsion
that produces the
doily edges of oceans
or the arabesques of thought?
And do these cutout coasts
and incurved rhetorical beaches
not baffle the onslaught
of the sea or objectionable people
and give private life
what small protection it’s got?
Praise then the oiled motions
of avoidance, the pearly
convolutions of all that
slides off or takes a
wide berth; praise every
eddying vacancy of Earth,
all the dimpled depths
of pooling space, the whole
swirl set up by fending-off—
extending far beyond the personal,
I’m convinced—
immense and good
in a cosmological sense:
unpressing us against
each other, lending
the necessary never
to never-ending.

Passage / Barbara Guest

for John Coltrane

after all
are syllables just
and you put them
in their place
a painter using his stroke
so the spot
where the article
an umbrella
a knife
we could find
in its most intricate
slashed as it was with color
called “being”
or even “it”


For the moment just
when the syllables
out of their webs float

We were just
beginning to hear
like a crane hoisted into
the fine thin air
that had a little ache (or soft crackle)

golden staffed edge of
quick Mercury
the scale runner


C’est juste
your umbrella colorings

dense as telephone
humming down the line

Red plumaged birds
not so natural
complicated wings

Sweet difficult passages
on your throats
there just there
caterpillar edging
to moth

I’d like to think more about Guest’s use of just in this poem. I like the word just. As a teenager, whenever I called my best friend and her mom answered I’d say something like, this is just Sara. I remember her calling me Just Sara.

swim: 1 small loop (1/2 big loop)
cedar lake open swim
78 degrees

Swam with FWA at open swim. Cold getting into the water, then cold in every part of the body outside of the water. Brrr.

10 Things

  1. a gentle rocking from the small waves — I liked it, FWA did not
  2. a big bird — a goose? a crane? high up in the sky above the water
  3. lots of pot smells at the far beach — a huge whiff wafted our way when the wind shifted
  4. the far buoy was much farther to the right than it usually is — I think it drifted in the wind
  5. creepy, pale vegetation growing up from the bottom
  6. “swam” through a thick patch of vegetation — very difficult to get in a full stroke or to move
  7. the grating, sharp, piercing noise of 2 rocks being knocked into each other under water — Above water the sound was annoying, but not too bad. Sticking my head below water, it was almost unbearably irritating
  8. splashing and flicking water like I used to as a kid with FWA
  9. the haunting call of the mourning dove as we walked back to the car
  10. something shining through the break in the trees on the other side of the lake — what was it?