Lake Effect

by Christian P. Knoeller

We blame the worst weather on this inland sea,
saltless, intractable, churning up storms
or the updrafts that cause shorebirds to soar,

transcendent, toward sunset. Boats capsize
and people shrug: maybe the foolhardy,
but who knows the whims of wide water?

When glaciers backed off, before fireweed
found a toehold on gravel, these waters
were wider still, yet the stakes

remain the same: Before setting out,
hold a hand under up to the wrist until
cold turns pure pain.

Let that hand guide the paddle.

About the Author:

Christian Knoeller served as Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, teaching literature and writing. His work has appeared--or is forthcoming--in such journals as: Ascent, The Connecticut Poetry Review, Cutbank, Ellipsis, Folio, Greenfield Review, GW Review, Hiram Poetry Review, Midwest Quarterly, Southern Poetry Review, Visions International, West Branch Quarterly, and Willow Spring, among others, as well as, Upriver 5: An Anthology of Wisconsin Writing. His chapbook, Song in Brown Bear Country, was published by Devil's Club Press of Juneau, Alaska. Mr. Knoeller, who holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley as well as an MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon, is presently completing a research study on classroom discussion of literature for SUNY Press and, in addition, a college textbook on the teaching of creative writing in conjunction with the study of literature in the secondary schools, to be published by Allyn & Bacon in 1997.