Jan/Feb 2017 Poetry

Fog Along the Shore

by Chuck Kramer

© 2016 Elizabeth P. Glixman

© 2016 Elizabeth P. Glixman

Fog Along the Shore

I run along the lakefront path where heat
from the western prairie rushes out over

the cold, blue water and quickly retreats,
transformed into fog which wraps the shore

in mist and disconnects the lip of the
city from the warm May afternoon. I'm

suddenly lost in a mystical land
of shadow where past and present twist against

each other like grappling twins and lost years
echo in the swirling pall of the coast

as the ghost of my brother sprints ahead
and evaporates in flashes of

sunlight bright on impassive waves washing
relentlessly over the sandy beaches.

I see my mother stroll with bare-armed, young
women who gossip as their toddlers race

into view, laughing and happy, before they
fly off and vanish again. Old men jog

out of the haze with my father, defiantly
attempting to outrace death, and fade back

into oblivion as I run along
the harbor and past the playing fields spread

out like gardens under the ancient elms
rising silently near the primeval

waters reeking of dead fish. Whitecaps slam
the rocks of the breakwater like crescendos

announcing my passing. The sun spotlights
me through the spray but I'm running blind,

unable to see what's ahead or what I
left behind. My feet pound the gravel path but

with the old-time music in my earphones,
I can't hear the gulls float over my

head or the wind blow hot behind me.
Nor can I see those who have gone ahead

or wandered off to other lives and I
realize I can't reach my destination

which shimmers seductively in my
imagination, promising quiet

reconciliation and the celebration
of all we share. So lost in a maze of

confusing trails that knot me with frustration
and despair, I turn a tight, slow semi-

circle and head back to where I started
and my high-rise life, neatly furnished

with the illusion of order and safety,
where the fog rarely rises to obscure

the view, and I can clearly see where I've
been, even if I can't tell where I'm going.


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