To Mom, in the Beyond

Two candles and three photos had to stand
atop the bureau that I used each summer.
No space for me to stack some books? Quelle bummer.
Each mantelpiece and shelf was also planned,
each ledge, nook, countertop, bare inch of floor,
or wedge of open air beneath a gable.
Even the sill behind the ping-pong table—
those poor doomed tchotchkes!—was accounted for.
Oh, how your decorating drove us nuts
(as tasteful as it was), your certainty
that everybody knew it would behoove them
to raise no disrespectful ifs or buts,
and leave each bud vase, bowl, or bottle be.
They’re all still there, of course: we’d hate to move them.

The Lake Speaks to the Summer People

Here you come again in those fake skins
(the bug-bright ones that hide your flabby meat
but not your horrifying unwebbed feet
and freakish lack of wings or shells or fins)
for yet another season of misdeeds:
you’ll thrash in me while trailing oily ooze,
shriek louder than a blue jay with the blues,
ride funny hollow logs at crazy speeds—
smashing the frogs and turtles in your way—
then climb in slower logs to hoodwink trout
with phony flies before you yank them out
and fling them back to fool another day.
But trust me: sometime when you’re far from shore
and lightning hits, I’ll even up the score.