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Marti Dodge

The Birds at Court

The Evergreens surround the yard
Tall and prickly palace guards
A courtyard for the birds
Blue jays, Chicadees and sparrows
Flit and bicker between the trees
Except the Cardinal
He sings from the very top
A red court jester
Here is the safest place

And best of all
She can spot him on their tree


Winter Morning Walk

Winter sky of pink, lavender and gray
Deer melt into the horizon
A flick of white
Gives them away
One turns to twelve
Leaping through bare brown leaves
Into the surreal sky-

Michigan Lake Loyalty

As a little girl
I was told
Mullett was the biggest lake
Bigger than Burt and
Don’t even count Houghton
No one on Mullett does

Its water
Looks hard like granite
Swirled with blue and pewter gray
Restless choppy water can
Turn to pounding whitecaps
In minutes

Its bottom
Two hundred feet deep in spots
Where the sturgeon,
Some over six feet
Spend their summers
They like it cold

Its shore
Beyond the glacial boulders
Has hard yellow-white sand
Clams make trails and send up bubbles
Sturdy and smooth underfoot but
Step on a cold spring and
And shiver to your skull.

In Mullett’s tame tourist season
The morning lake is still
Distant boat wakes
Tap the shore while
Fishermen’s motors hum
Slipping away
By late morning
Sleepy skiers
See some gusting ripples
And hunt for calm waters
By Pickeral Bay
Or Topinabee
Or over to Red Pine Point
To show off
Over and Over and Over

By afternoon
Toddlers splash
Squeals turn to whines
Mothers pull them from
Their beloved water
To unwanted naps

By evening
The moon over Indian River
Lights an undulating path
For fishermen
To return
Hamburgers again but
No one minds

Boats thump against their buoys
Now pampered swans can skim the shore
Their crass calls
Punctuating polite conversations
On cottage porches

Many summers
I was there
And learned well
Not to count Houghton
Or mention Burt
When you belong to
Mullett Lake.

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