Lakes Rivers Streams

Fish tap tap tap on the roof

Water rushes by through the living room and into the kitchen late
             night and look someone thought to do the dishes

A lamp is on in the other room

Two lamps

Lampreys swirl in a bucket from last night’s dream

I had wanted to dream about birds and all I got were these

Who could I call to ask what to do?


Who could move the peonies back into the kitchen and who might
             change their water?

Other things get started


Stuck in jelly

At the same time spring pushes up against the windows
             a green screen

And sleep

Pooled at the top of the stairs

Who could I call to make an appointment
             or swim?

Cows float in the bunch

Scraps of  brown paper

I learn to swim in the afternoon with everyone else my age

A sale of  Holsteins and Herefords

You can smell the detergent in the yard with
             the other flowers

When I woke up this morning the lights were already on in the


Hunkered down on all fours to see it maybe press your nose
             up against it

Like rabbits

The bottoms of  her baby feet

My son’s hair is still gold and smells like wheat

The porch light sluiced through the mown grass so we would know
             where we were or were not

At home or away

Just upstream from a cell tower and a box of  Huggies

Who would scoop up the backyard and who flush out
             those rabbits?

The neighbors are already at it

Just upstream from a can of  Red Bull and a pollen allergy

The old mower used gasoline but this new one you just plug into a wall

Trims the edges

An orange extension cord crawls out from the dining room into
             the sun

The entire afternoon stacked up on the edge of
             the patio


Dandelions with their heads chopped off and my mother’s one or
             other dog or is that a deer?

Deer file up to the window to look at you

A gardening problem in the suburbs

Deer pellets

Your little fingers opening an apple opening
             a star

Feeding it to a deer

The seeds inside were red watermelon seeds

A light sweat breaks out over the milk carton

Not only that but also fish piled up in the back of  a truck or slung into
             waxed bags

A silver leak

Where is everyone?

My kids slide inside their wet rooms asleep

A bag of Chinook a bag of

Leaking onto a pile of ferns


A light wash overflows this regular morning

Aspirin with codeine inside is nice and something to look forward
             to outside of a blank slate

The cool floors of grocery stores

The side of your cheek in the morning
             a fish cheek

Safeway is open ditto Fred Meyer

The fridge opens by itself and leaks something almost lettuce and
             almost milk

Just upstream from a pair of headphones and a Weight Watchers

Not only a light on in the refrigerator but a puddle lit from inside

A dragonfly drags through grass
             and trash

You don’t get to be the grass

That dragonfly probly isn’t even a dragonfly probly it’s a deerfly


I dreamt we started the whole day over from scratch

Poured that out onto the floor


Not only static in the trees when I wake up but something whipped
             up into glossy foam

Chirrup-chirrup my tree makes syrup
             syrup so sweet

Upstream from a can of Aqua Net and a Pepsi

White twist ties

Just opened this morning

Skipping down the grandmother sidewalk without stepping on a

No one to catch it or hold it

No one to pull the light out of the rhododendrons by hand with
             their own hands

Mom calls from the dog run in the backyard

A minor threat

A dog floats by another dog

Put the coffee on I’ll be right in!

A wind from I-5 kicks up her green jogger and there she’s gone

Stuck in a tree


No one to mow the backyard or the front even or take a message

The eels are male then female and back again

They swim under the couch and disappear

The sun goes on despite disappointing coverage and lower fees

Mom does her hair

What would you like to do with this pile of cell phones?

What would you like to eat?

The baby likes dogs and flowers

Bees in the lilac tree have something to say and say it without giving
             away the ending

A yellow retriever mix or black lab or roses

Royal Gold or Ruby Ruby

That lilac tree probly isn’t even a lilac tree probly it’s a bush

Press play

Her little fingers can’t yet work
             a button


Not only a list of ants making its way from a crack in the concrete to
             a scrap in the sink

Flower Carpet Coral or Flower Carpet Pink

But milk in the ground


Something opens in the day and you
             step right through

The ants are interesting they stick together all in a line or a ring

The rings of  Saturn

Oh look someone picked up the tennis balls and miscellaneous toys
             before plugging in the mower

Or a spaniel or a boxer

No one to pick her up or hold her?

Blight was a word we never used as the roses took or they didn’t

The baby?

Fragrant Cloud Fragrant Plum

The grass is tennis-ball green


But also that deerfly could have been a mosquito just outside the
             service area

I could finally get through to you to reach you!

The tips of its fingers

Paper or plastic?

If you want birds you might try a bird feeder

Just upstream from a gallon of  2% and a yellow pack of American

Stick on your mosquito body or yellow swimsuit
             and swim

But also the kids breathing inside their mammal rooms breathing

Someone left the bougainvillea on all night ditto the humidifier

Same frequency as the rhoddy’s

You could hear it for a long time after

Their dream names Sharpied onto the sides of a white
             plastic bag

I could finally do that

No one has called my cell phone now for hours


Cherry blossoms call to the surface of things that is
             their color

In contrast to almost everything else on the floor

My dream kids shit in buckets

Frogs try to get on them

Who will shoe their pretty little feet who will hold their hands?

This is the earth and sometimes the earth
             changes colors

Now I remember they were horses mulching the backyard

Who will polish their shiny little hooves?

Who will pick them flowers?

A regular morning

You nuzzled open a pile of cherries and there it was the thing we
             always wanted

Whatever that was

A chain link fence goes round and round
             like a song

They sleep standing up in a circle


Dandelions pee in a corner of the yard a kind of Kodak

Lamb’s Tongue ditto the Coltsfoot

My horse kids eat something off the ground I can’t quite make out
             some leather fruits and Oh’s

Nosing in the dark

Nosing inside of  holes

Lay their necks across my one neck

Just upstream from a microwave and a tub of  Cool Whip

Noses against the sliding glass door squeak a little at night that is
             their sound

Noses against visitors

Who will mow around their calves?

Mom said she wasn’t sure

Not one memory of a butterfly back there but horseflies somehow in
             the buck grass

Eat the roses

Dig a little hole and get into it


What should I do with their withers and fetlocks what should I do
             with their dressage?

A parade is nice

I shoveled the backyard for a picnic but you could still smell it

The tomatoes almost took ditto
             the basil

Not only today but also tomorrow

Noses in the dark

Manure noses

The day curled up in a cup

A private life you can hear above the washer or was that the mower
             even now it’s two blocks away

Listening is yellow and green

Fish swim in cell phones

Speakers set up thoughtfully throughout the house did you
             notice that?

Skin wings on the back of another animal or person

Eating out a radio


The day curled up in a corner

Butterfly static but harder to hear the closer you are to the window
             isn’t that odd?

Skateboards on the macadam

Switch heel kickflip via a Frontside 180

I couldn’t see the kids before they were born though they threw
             their voices

An earful of leaf  blowers

Then they were here

The day was moving off somewhere
             hard to see

The day was both

Curled up on the couch

At first I thought I could hear them through leaves and understory
             but then I wasn’t so sure

You both do and you don’t

More a davenport than anything else

Just upstream from a can of  lemon Pledge and some Gordon’s


Did I tell you that I watered the cherry tree in the backyard ditto
             the crepe myrtle?

Is that what’s it called?

Talking to maple leaves makes for a nice morning if quiet
             at first and then loud

Day moves toward the door

A box fan instead of air conditioning

I can’t tell their voices apart

Across the dark green lawn something glows is that a glass of milk?

Kids curled up on the coating

An earwig floats by another earwig

The day listens to traffic moving off in two directions at once like
             standing in a spring shower

Flowers appear without warning

And whom do we have to thank for this delicious lunch?

These petits fours?

That one and only glass of milk?


For instance you walk through the room without
             looking up

The door opens out onto central air after all

Light a cigarette in there

Those Chinook and Silverside probly aren’t probly they’re Rainbow
             Trout and Organic Salmon

A spoonful of roe

No place to light your fingers

Or move them back and forth

For instance the phone keeps ringing in the other room

Beneath a tea cozy

Just upstream from a toilet cover and
             a Percocet

More a lilac than anything else

An ant floats by another ant

A lilac tree

But you don’t even know how to have fun anymore you don’t even
             like to do drugs


Sidewalks glint in sun and trees newly opened oh shit I woke up
             with a tension headache!

Pear blossoms

They smell like semen

For instance I look forward to seeing you all day

No place to put our feet up or
             say anything

Blah blah blahblahblah

Quick let’s do it before the kids wake up!

For a long time I would cut the grass in the morning before
             it got too hot

For instance the basil burned ditto the oatmeal

Growing up I never considered a different kind of  life because we
             had television

It doesn’t seem that long ago

A swimming pool in the living room

White reverb

I used to take off fast but now I take off slow


More a migraine than anything else

Something dull in the bushes is that a rabbit?

A dead squirrel whirligigs
             the light

That light was cling-free

For instance a Coke is nice and something to look forward to and
             you can do it by yourself

I think the day knows exactly what it’s doing

Opening a stuck window or collecting a small fee

But also you see something out the window I don’t see

Moss grows you can count on it

Morning dew scratched at the door then cantered away into what
             we’re not sure of

I filtered everything through rain and got what exactly
             more rain?

The good news is ferns

The good news is graffiti

Those peonies probly weren’t even peonies probly they’re dahlias


But also the kids pick flowers if you let them

Some petals are soapy and blow down the street a quick and linty
             pink and white dream

As for TV there’s always perennials

As for day care there’s always the grass

A pile of nachos in the microwave

Just upstream from a car battery and a glass of SunnyD

Benadryl in the grass and grass insects tuning up the tardy afternoon a
             twitchy kickstart

Her sneeze in the puffed-out dandelions his little cough someplace
             else altogether

It’s time for lunch

It’s time for the sun

Just because you carry something from one day to the next it doesn’t
             make all days the same

Everybody out of  the pool!

The regular skimmers are brightly colored and constant

The regular skimmers are chlorined and cousined


Not only recycling but holding hands in a holding pattern the day
             spends outside

Tied up with kitchen twine and stacked neatly by the curb

A cardboard floats by another

The next thing you know the rain has stopped

And starts again before you know it with a drop and a drop and yet
             another drop

A cup of coffee on the counter

The dogs in the backyard in a lather

Just upstream from a VHS player and a bucket of KFC

Stars look down and count the tops
             of our heads

A cell phone tower via a pine tree

The newly emptied mall parking lot via a lake

I got here late

Wildstyle via FatCap along the chain link was red and yellow spray

The top of my daughter’s head ditto the top
             of my son’s


The afternoon leans toward television and birds

A dream can stay on all morning and does so sticking around for
             drop-off and pickup

Just in time for a quick once-over

The pansies took ditto the ground cover

More an annual than anything else

The top of my daughter’s head is astro fluff in the

Blue jays on shuffle in the regular trees

For instance bees make their home in the sandbox

Margarine via butter

The sound of the interstate via the sound of the sea

The top of my son’s head is corn silk shot through a cassette deck
             playing early Black Flag

Alone in the kitchen

Mom presses rewind on the microwave

Dogs melt into the linoleum


Not only that but you don’t have to feel bad anymore

Blue jay by blue jay

The birds are real and wait just outside where
             we left them

Just upstream from the new mixed-use building concern and a two-
             liter of  Diet Squirt

Wings in the wallpaper

Wings and glue

I wasn’t going to do it again but maybe you could describe
             the light?

It’s not easy but it’s a little

Probly those earwigs weren’t even earwigs probly they were rollypollys

Our loved ones are everywhere

Leaves buffeted by the HVAC system

Their names whispered through an intercom in the evergreens

The blue jay’s nesting material was modern and shining recyclables
             reflected on the surface of  the lawn

A twist of  tinfoil in the shape of a swan


A cloud of dryer lint soundproofs the scrape

Open wires braided in a regular fishtail braid or a 6-pack yoke in a
             classic milkmaid

Cotton wool jute and burlap

Feathers from other birds mixed with regular paper
             and fiberglass

Just upstream from a bottle of  Sumatriptan and a case of  bottled

More a grocery list than anything else

A single zigzag

Tinsel blings the classic cup

Leaves repurposed as sanitizer and a kind of traditional blockwood
             painted or flock wallpaper

Banana leaves and artichokes on fast-forward

Cellulose is waterproof

Human hair or horsehair in a perfect carousel

Not only plastic strips but cellophane draped over the vegetation

A cell phone calls from a cornrow


A bird calls from a saucer or plate

A wire hanger hangs in this regular afternoon a kind of dressing
             chair without a seating assignment

Dead twigs dead leaves and dry

Reclaimed corners

Reclaimed grass

That monoprint of a maple leaf on the platform

A phosphorous updo

For instance neighbor kids find a nest and check on it each morning
             balanced on a pile of chairs

The ground looks up and then returns to whatever it was doing

Curbside check-in for squeakers

Curbside check-in for suet

Broom bristles mop string and
             dental floss

An onion bag in a topknot

That twist of  tinfoil in the shape of a Park-n-Ride


For instance a light applause breaks out over the swing set slide and
             seesaw combo

Did I tell you I aced the bathroom?

A roll of toilet paper

Scotch-Brite and a butter knife

Probly that nest wasn’t even a nest probly it was a regular

Warm water white vinegar and Arm & Hammer

An upload of sunlight

For instance butterflies have tongues and hang them out in the day
             to pick up what exactly?

The local station we used to get we don’t get anymore

Voice mail via an otter

A block-graph via a bluebell

Their tongues curl in the light of a flatscreen projecting a host plant and
             a finale

Four long two short

Sip-sipping a hotspot


For instance the grass looks up and then goes back to whatever
             it was doing before

A very heavy rain followed by a very light rain

Did I tell you I replaced everything and
             all at once?

Dog shit in the backyard

The day in a V shape planted in parks parkways and yards or
             seasonally planted around the house

An attachment via an acorn

A chat room via a catkin

If  the day is fernlike and pointed at the ends and irregular or keeled
             as the times and styles change

A four-ring box clutch via a pillbox

A glass organza via a clinkerbell

Those blue jays probly weren’t even blue jays probly they were

You can’t put the day back together again

A decal of a hawk silhouette

Just upstream from a pair of  headphones and a Stouffer’s


If  the day is tapered twigs leaf stems and a white undersurface
             tolerating the usual errands

A small tree in the shade of a tall tree

An ozone inside a loophole

More a Lean Cuisine than anything else

We let the grass go yellow on purpose and drove straight to the store

My daughter pulls the grass up
             with her fingers

My son uses scissors

If  the day is deciduous and thin with waves at the margins and
             common or common enough

Did I tell you I vacuumed the carpets and dusted
             the picture window?

A picture of what?

An airplane headed in the direction of  the Willamette

Meanwhile the river looks up and then goes back to whatever it was
             doing before

A landing strip via some riprap

Our futures in a bindle


If the day is untidy looking and aromatic with end-leaflets narrowing
             where the sun is lopsided and lobed

I’ll wait outside

We can’t leave the kids in the car anymore

Or wind or cows or people

Schist in your shoes pick up where we left off

A photo-offset of a fern into a

The blue flame in the new gas stove has fins

If  the day is irregular on both sides and pebbled or modified by
             acrylics and permanent

Black toner cartridge via a starling

A stop bath via a sparrow

The afternoon clears the table for flowers and more

Not only whatever’s on but a pinnate in the past

More a dinette set than anything else

The day ticking over in the fixer bath


Meanwhile a northern flicker bends a piece of plexiglass into a wind

Did I tell you I raked the leaves and put them all into a black
             Glad bag?

Meanwhile a black-capped chickadee

One kid asleep upstairs another on the pot

Bird clutter marks the spot

Just upstream from a newly relaxed regulation and the brand new
             Jiffy Lube

A birdbath in a dribble!

A damselfly vacates the day in a blur

A mosquito on a daisy

My daughter looks up and then goes back to whatever it was she was
             doing before

The afternoon divided up into zones

Where her new sounds meanwhile astound the daylight
             on a leaf

An off-brand beetle duct-tapes the water

X’s & O’s


You don’t have to if  you don’t want to

Pink rollers via a ripple

Little white sticks via a balk

Meanwhile a deer tick slides into the very last reserved parking spot

Under arms around the ears back of the knees and
             between the legs

Meanwhile inside a belly button

A pink parking pass flutters between the seat cushions

A speckle-winged quill vacates the day in a blind

More a leftover than anything else

That grass probly wasn’t even grass probly it was a roll of   Diamond Pro
             Fescue or Jade 50

A blue tint ditto a cloud of flies

Meanwhile a regular water strider enamels the edge of a pond
             making room for you and the rest of  the day

A stork inside your mind

Dots and lines    


In other places we felt much the same as we do today only
             more so

Meanwhile a mayfly floats by another mayfly

A hard drive via a hedge

A Bluetooth via a squiggle

Oh look someone remembered to take out the compost

Meanwhile mites in a double clasp and peaked felt number wish you
             well and more

White foam flowers on a polished floor

Who will tape their wings back?

Who will fold their corners?

A common green lacewing has an appointment someplace else
             altogether and will keep it

To a thrip or a honeydew?

A grand tour

Just upstream from a stackable washer/dryer unit and the brand new

The loop that keeps happening in the leaf litter


Before you know it that light has changed from checker mallow and
             milkweed to something more en-suite

Whites and sulphurs

Probly that lacewing wasn’t even a lacewing probly it was a green

Hey! Hey kids!

Meanwhile a green comma or a common

Their wings are made of cardboard and Reynolds Wrap

A rubber band here a rubber band there

Meanwhile real sunlight sneaks up the wall somewhere between
             butterfly yellow and butterfly brown

Not a dream really just an ordinary afternoon

What color is that goldenrod?

A focal point via a knob

The new streaming service was all aflutter and temporarily

Not only that but a golden hairstreak

One kid on the couch the other in a bole


Just between the dimmer switch and a short circuit of  local or overlit

Hi-Liter yellow and chisel tipped

A bucket of  honeysuckle

Bring the car around I’ll be right out!

Did I tell you I aced the console with some Orange Glo ditto the late

They blanket the lawn in summer

A long dash followed by a short dash

Right between a commotion of  track lighting and a dribble of newish

A newish drop in the bucket

An overflow of stillness and snacks

My son looks up and then goes back to whatever it was he was
             doing before

The day is nonslip and early

A download of nervy and rainbowed fluorescence

A bedhead floats by another bedhead


Just between the newly installed porch floods and a small handful of
             cabbage whites

A vertical frequency to it

A sprinkle of what exactly?

Not only that but our intentions stacked up
             in a swirl

The bunting’s vocals were lip-synced and weird ditto the dishwasher’s

A voice box via a gorge

A yellow Lego on top of a yellow Lego

Right between a semi-transparent aftereffect and a latticed or
             crosshatched bit of fluff

An upgrade via a wrinkle

More a floater than anything else

Probly that bunting wasn’t even a bunting probly it was a Western

We began with sliced apple and later moved on to sunlight

An orangetip on a pincushion

A pip on the carpet


Or an inverted firefly blinking on and off through a drift of dandruff
             flicked off the TV set

A flittery cat’s eye

Yellow green or pale red

Just upstream from a can of  Sea Foam and a bag of Birds Eye Single

An additive combination of  bark dust and
             grade school

Or a perfect glow stick

The tops of trees

Or an elliptical wastebasket where my son might pick out a glow
             worm or a lime green flashlight fish

The day has its limits

The yard looks the same now than it did just an hour ago

Same rush of  Oregon grape same hurry of

The names for things slip away

A rotary via a spiral

A router via a tangle


Or a streamer bobs its way across the living room trailing a yellow
             popper through the top water

My daughter ties off an improved clinch knot

A perfection loop

The day is construction paper
             and laundry

It syrups the corners

Not only that but the remote control scuddled in the wingback

Wide open spaces

Or a glint in the kitchen counter where a local slope wrinkles a bowl
             of cereal on the new Formica

The toaster shimmies

A splake floats by another splake

Did I tell you I folded the clothes in a basic reverse squash or rabbit
             fold ditto the onesies?

The day is sound checked and

Appearing and disappearing in the hydrangeas

A plus sign followed by a minus


Or a speck of something else altogether some mica or something
             made of  OJ bits and squinting

A dreamy dusky wing

Meanwhile the grass is back

Butter and eggs are seamless and windowbox the stand mixer organic
             dish soap and phone

A private suburb here where we put things

A plug-in via a stob

Rods and cones

Or cuckoo bees spun out in a bright wash of parallel and early or late
             climber roses

Just upstream from a buffet-style weekend special and some notable

Pollen paints the car and cleans out eczema

Wicks out the margins

Wisteria points up the positives of nonverbal
             choral work

Or music you can’t hear

Water music


Or a flowering piggyback petals a residue of  light-to-dark jellies and
             purple glue stuff

A smidgen of  Windex

A gimlet in waves

Probly that cat’s eye wasn’t even a cat’s eye probly it was a regular

At the same time heaps of clouds bounce off
             the driveway

I plated the snacks ditto the expectations

Burnt toast and bitumen

Or outside the voices of other children climb up

Taller ones

Pedal bikes pushed up and down the walk all day transfigure
             the pavements in a wired curlicue

A fiddlehead with arms and legs

Or taller trees in a chase

The day is non-glare and leafed out stuccoed by
             robot beetles

One television is off the other is vertical rays of  light


Or a #2 pencil beam crinkles the cornea in the backyard feathering seed
             starters and stems

The day feels irreversible and will stay inside a Dixie cup

Things stick to the door screen

Windy light broken off and moth dust broken off

Ribs and holes

Not only that but a complicated system of noticing and a dob of
             apple juice

You blow on it and it glows

Or a refurbished working day backlights the hanging geraniums a
             handful of pink fiberglass

A lake effect glancing off the sideboard

A streamer via a stickle

A cooler via a brook

More than that those green and gold flecked inlays look away

A creek bed in the hallway   

A spiral floats by another spiral


And pink and blue transparencies gel the day each morning

And pansies more than you

You don’t have to wonder about the sky anymore you don’t have to
             ask what to wear

Just upstream from a sketchy weather system and the new overpass

High on glue

The raindrops can’t lash the ferns they can’t
             flash flood a pinna

Then the sun comes out again

And trees are stressed out and can’t get going either

It’s dinnertime breakfast is over

Over and over my son’s voice across the lawn a white sparkler then
             a green sparkler then a white

Someone comes running

Probly those geraniums aren’t even geraniums probly they’re trailing

Local traffic

Left to your own devices you would watch TV clips all day and              
             make more toast and then what brush your teeth?


And vacuuming the carpet makes a nice smell part burnt tips part
             wet dog

It’s difficult to think of something to do

A snip floats by another snip

I guess what you’re doing today is doing chores

I picked up everything in the house and put them all back down just
             to the left of themselves

Pajamas and urine

A throw rug via a jelly roll

And its color time and petal time again & leaves lift the light outside
             the window just enough

Let the flowers back in ditto the dog

You only have a few minutes for anything it’s hardly enough time
      to get started

Hey! Hey trees!

Did I tell you I scoured the linoleum with an X-Acto and cleaned out
             the wayback?

One tree is a pine and one is a maple I know that

One tree is you


And a handheld  Japanese coffee grinder collects dust and would
             after any wedding not just ours

Bags of  groceries wait in a brown line

A skater floats by another skater

Green feedback

Golden raisins

If  you want to hear lake water lapping it up those thousand tongues
             pushing past duckweed you’ll have to imagine it

A basin inside a teacup

And slices of orange radiate in a Ziploc

No one uses sprinklers here except the university we’re just as happy
             with people

Just upstream from your first home and anything that’s leftover

Repetitions in crinoline

Or dream neon

If you want to hear the lawn service line up edges in sunlight you’ll
             have to wait until Wednesday

In the morning the kids come running down the stairs

More Poems by Michael Dickman