It was cold and cold
crept into each orifice.
Smiling into a frozen oval
fountain, a strange face
fractured into mosaic—
as if each man replacing
men who replaced me
with big cities and diseases
threw the wet flesh he stole
into the blue glittering depths.
Strange face, love
of my life. Leaving
this skeleton for
bare buildings and
thin men thinned
into lost architecture.
I was a spineless disciple
of false gods, judges, jobs.
My life drawn like Mirror
Lake, oval and you can circle
it. Oval and you can circle it
several times as wind chimes
from Cincinnati’s seven hills
are chorus to this run
around away inside of
Loss. A deepening lonely cry
of the black wolf in Eden Park
resides within itself. So sing
self into Mirror Lake. The voice
echoes and embraces the cured
spectator of the Northeast’s lonely
doing and a melody returns
to being green, rooted here,
becomes skin to bone to soul.
I am a tumbleweed blown back
from the turned backs frozen stiff
of the world up East outside East
Walnut Hills—filled world, leaking.
Those who run straight away for love
return home drawing circular ovals.
Such that Jamaal, studying fear,
discovers the cure for loneliness
at the bottom of Mirror Lake—
above the pennies, watery grace,
God this is a face.
God, this is too much water to waste.
God, good God, I am embraced.
At Mirror Lake, we pace and pace
fixed points along a curved line
spines bowed dragging a steel
plough thrown off for the cold dip
our mouths drip, drinking what lies
between the self and another, God!
We say as if to pray. Predators
slink away from joyful laughing.
Each body of water beside another
body of water watering the world.
Mirror Lake is so exquisitely tiled,
a skull in Columbus mosaics then heals
as if what we did for twenty years past
two thousand was Feel and Think
and swipe by our souls for dimes.
My title for it “This is fine. I am living
my best life” at Mirror Lake: a pig flies
glazed in quarters and woman-sized.
Emily Spencer’s poetry is published in the Kenyon Review, Pleiades , and elsewhere. She studied at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship.