On the Feast of the Holy Innocents, 2019 – by CJ Giroux

On the Feast of the Holy Innocents, 2019

Idling in neutral, the car inches toward Lake Linton,
stopped by an uneven pocket of crumbling asphalt.

The color of hot chocolate, dregs in an unwashed pan,
the open water keeps climbing for December sky.

I imagine its levels ringing the outside of elms,
a new contest in these days of mercury rising.

The river rises; the current pulls, edging fallen branches on.
The engine hesitates, coughs, repeats itself.

The only constant is a chorus of complaints:
crows lament, collect in cottonwoods on the opposite shore.

My hands, encased in leather dark as coal, grip the steering wheel,
point me to rolling black water in end times.

A lifelong resident of Michigan, CJ Giroux is on the faculty at Saginaw Valley State University, where he also serves as co-director of the Center for Community Writing. He is one of the founding editors of the community arts journal Still Life. He has most recently been published in The Swamp Literary Magazine, Caesura, Dash, and Cumberland River Review.

Statement by Featured Artist, Shelley Thomas: A slow roll into the lake. An easy slide toward oblivion. Open water. Rising water. A hard swallow. I imagine the shoreline, pebbled and wet. A gentle lapping of lake water rinsing everything clean. Everything heavy and deliberate. As if by design.
Art: “Beach Lace,” 2017 (Encinitas, California)