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At the End of the Dock: A poem by Doris Lueth Stengel

A dock is a summertime thing in
Minnesota.
Certainty of ice that comes with
crushing power
demands removal from autumn cold
water.
Ritualistic replacement by men in
rubber waders
ignites celebration of summer's
arrival
in explosions of cannonballing
children.

Tan legs launch sealslick bodies
from corduroy runway into liquid
rebirth.
Ecstasy-flung towels decorate its
length.
Boats rub its comforting side,
nodding approval.

Old feet stand next to bare wiggly
ones
cast lines rigged with Rapalas or
bobbers.
Fathead minnows naively seek
shelter
in pseudo-safety of plank shadows;
while nearby schools of perch and
sunfish
circle, learning survival tactics.

Dreamer toes dangle, tempt nibblers,
test temperature for total immersion.
Deck chairs anchored above gentle
lappings
hold readers of Michener and Frost,
seat viewers for redripe sunsets
played on panoramic skyscreen.

Olympic platform awards gold
medals
fashioned of flickering fireflies.

- Doris Lueth Stengel