“We Begin at Lake Calhoun”
When the weather turned bitter that winter,
we chose to enjoy it. Too in love to feel sorry
for ourselves, we couldn’t sulk inside
that drafty house. No way we could pay
to crank up the heat. Instead, we strapped on skates,
etched lines and figure eights on the lake.
Our laughter cut through silence, echoing in clean air
each time we fell, the sound like evening church bells
pealing in the distance. Peering through cracks,
we caught sight of the rush and blackness
beneath us, the water so deep and dark
we sat hushed in wonder. How were we to know
in time those fissures would give?
This selection comes from Jia Oak-Baker’s collection Well Enough to Travel available now from Five Oaks Press. Purchase your copy here.
Jia Oak Baker is the author of the chapbooks Crash Landing in the Plaza of an Unknown City (Dancing Girl Press) and Well Enough to Travel (Five Oaks Press). Her work has appeared in The Good Men Project, Profane, Poet Lore, DMQ Review, Likewise Folio, and elsewhere. She received a 2015 grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and has also been awarded artist residencies from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and Hedgebrook. Jia lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and teaches writing at Paradise Valley Community College.
Ben McClendon is a PhD student in creative writing at the University of Tennessee. He previously studied poetry at Northern Arizona University after teaching high school English for several years. His poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Yemassee, Ceasura, Chariton Review, Redivider, Rattle, and elsewhere. He is currently Assistant Poetry Editor for Grist: The Journal for Writers and a poetry editor for Four Ties Lit Review. Ben lives with his husband in Knoxville.
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