Stateline Lake

By Arlyce Menzies

Featured Art by William Guy Wall

Slipping through the shadow of trees
at dusk to the old strip mine, we took off
our clothes under the wide catalpa’s
strung slender pods. The lake
shone with the last evening light,
cicadas casting their long call over the water.

We both dove and you didn’t come up
for a while. Then, you broke out, fist first,
and shouted for me to come look.
I sheared the dim surface with dark strokes
and found you gripping a watersnake
that curled and whipped your wrist.

You were delighted, and I tried to imagine
the impulse, impossible for me, that made you
grab the slither against your ribs
underwater. And the jolt you rose with,
the triumph of your quick hands,
and the body with which you felt the world.


Arlyce Menzies was raised in the Rust Belt, educated in the Bluegrass, and has taught ESL and creative writing in New England. She recently completed an MFA at Boston University, where she fell in love with translating Russian poetry. She will soon improve her translations, because she and her family are (voluntarily) moving to Siberia.

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