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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

by Thomas J. Erickson




In 30 years no one will remember that it snowed here
52 years ago on the 4th of July and that it was so cold
that the high school band had to play in the school bus
with the windows down.

In 30 years tops or whenever the last of my sons
has left this globe, no one will know my father
never swam in Lake Superior when he was growing up
a few hundred yards from Gitcheegumee
because it was so damn cold back then.

Soon enough, no one but me will even think
about how beautifully fucked up this is: To now be able 
to swim in the turquoise water of the Magic Coves
to dive to the shipwreck off Chapel Rock
to do the dead man’s float in the secluded expanse
off Lonesome Point.

So I hope you find this bottle someday on some shore
somewhere if there still are shores somewhere:

There was an August when I swam far enough out
to get to the sand bar and stood there for a while.
I was surprisingly far from shore and when I turned
around it was endlessly blue.


Thomas J. Erickson is an attorney in Milwaukee where he writes poetry while sitting in court waiting for his case to be called. He spends his summers in a little town on the shores of Lake Superior in Upper Michigan where, in recent years, it's been warm enough to swim come August.