On the Dock, August Evening

Using the tension of the surface,
voices glide across the bay.
I recognize marshmallows, matches, wood.

Perhaps the current from Trapper Creek
emptying glacial melt
helps propel each word along.

Soon, a breeze ripples the surface
catching slivers of moon
like a school of salmon.

Gradually, the wind
becomes strong enough
to sweep every syllable away.

Then the lake struggles to speak.
Its many tongues lap volcanic sand
with a soft steady rhythm.

Crickets repeat
their chorus under the cosmos,
while high in a fir an owl questions the night.

Heading south, a long freight rumbles
past the summit and slowly fades—
a thought ebbing away.

I can still hear Grandfather say,
“By late summer, troll slow
and keep your lines deep.”

Mark Thalman

About Mark Thalman

Mark Thalman is the author of Catching the Limit, published by 
Fairweather Books (2009). His work has been widely published 
for four decades. Thalman’s poetry has appeared in Carolina 
Quarterly, CutBank, Pedestal Magazine, and Verse Daily,among 
others. He received his MFA from the University of Oregon, and 
he has been teaching English in the public schools for 34 years. 
Thalman is the editor of poetry.us.com. For more information 
please visit markthalman.com.
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