Kids Jumping into Lake ChippewaPigeon-chested children with streaming noses
dive weightless into still water
breaking circles into smaller circles, rebounding against
their laughter feels like a cold hand around my neck
as I imagine their futures
the girl with the black hair, she’ll be raped by her uncle
her mother will tell her, she is a dirty little liar
she will start taking pills at ten and graduate to heroin
when the school counselor asks her, where it all went wrong
she will think of the sunlight through trees
elm, willow, plain oak and cypress
the sound of her unmolested body, falling into water
as if baptized in reverse
the turn of her mother’s neck, in denial
her thick coral lips, mouthing betrayal
my brother would not do that
her own diminishing and the feeling
of wet, cold, bathing suit
and she will not know, how to verbalize
that separation of self or why
it seemed permissible to sell her body for drugs
let men cut her up, into shards of her former wholeness
like fast food tastes bad
once it has been opened
she does not know, how it stopped mattering
if she protected, those broken walls within her
they were already torn down
that’s what she’d say, if she hadn’t
consumed her tongue and turned it hard
like a cliffs edge seems strong but crumbles
and the counselor, sighs and shakes her head
going home, only to wonder what more
she could do, to reach lost children
and the black-haired girl, gets her fix and slips
once more beneath glassy-eyed waves
this time, she can see herself
her blanched face, her loose fingers empty
letting go of all pain and slipping
like worry beads
deeper and deeper
and if I could, I would
walk backward in time
pluck her drenched and empty
fill her with sunlight and sound
reverberating like a crack in the world
opens and reveals a new passageway
she would come with me into the forest
her younger self remaining
jumping from the jetty with her friends
caught in elasticized moments
too free to escape the laughter
of uninterrupted innocence