Unfamiliar Country

wind on water on ice apparitional
the lake floating on itself giving
air a body that races mirror-backs

half serpent half silk scarving
pulled from this winter’s inverted hat
everything dull but the tree-howl

gray branches clacking near black
against brackish cloud-cover the nubs
of leaves swollen like purple hives

or pustules nearing break the way
a country can be so unfamiliar
to itself its bones retained like some

relic moving to museum floor
to be showcased with informative
signs and all the best lighting

its innards spirited away in the cycle
of wet things rain-logged to rot
and mold driven down to earth

becoming earth below the surface
of the earth lake and root sharing
a bottom unfathomed unechoed

Crab Orchard Review, Volume 22, Number 1, 2018