Escanaba River

by Gary Beaumier


In dreams my father skates

the Escanaba River.

The ice hard frozen and dusted

with snow that swirls

ghostly behind him

as he flies breakneck

toward a sundown

that sets the pine and birch on fire.

He’s lean in that way teens are,

tugging his hat over

a thicket of black hair --

earflaps up, daring the cold.

Blades bite the ice as he sways

into a rhythm of greater speed

until he pivots and backward

glides in a lazy “S”.

This was his glory!

There are days when

I superimpose myself in this past --

momentarily I become the lord of time,

the curator of some

cataract memory –

and there he is,

largely unformed,

neither father nor husband.

As I meet him this way,

our checkered

relationship and


is yet to be.

So we walk companionably

to my grandparents’

past yellow windows,

cheeks and noses red and numb

and tightened from the frozen air.

In his later years Gary Beaumier has become something of a beachcomber and has self diagnosed with “compulsive walking disorder.” On a number of occasions he has cobbled together wooden sailboats. He is a finalist and semi finalist for the Luminaire Award for several of his poems. He has had three poems published in Flumes Winter 2017 and one poem in Third Wednesday as well as one poem in Chaleur Magazine, The Piltdown Review, The Esthetic Apostle, The Internet Void, an upcoming issue of Raw Arts Review and a recording in Lit_Tapes. He taught poetry in a women's prison.


October 2018

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