On Logan Martin Lake

“On Logan Martin Lake”

by Tina Mozelle Braziel

1. Swimmer 
Like a daughter who has not forgotten the world of her mother’s body,

I know this lake, the springs veining her with cold,

each splash an attempt to get outside herself. I know her wavering reflections ask:

is this how sky looks in that tree, is this how still your home sits.

2. Dissenter

This lake ain’t nothing but a river fattened

within a stall.The river
is its hidden muscle, its bone.

The dam holds what bit it can

while the river paws at its foundation.

No one fights
a river and wins.

3.The River

Call me Coosa,
confluence of Etowah and Oostanaula.

I miss what is sinuous: those syllables, my meander

through Alabama,
when Alabama meant thicket.

I won’t answer to the stagnant thud
of Logan Martin, Lay Lake, or Neely Henry.

4. Former Farmer, Now Trailer Park Owner

I know the lake as bottom where I once grew collards,

dark waves of them rippling
where that ski boat plows past those piers.

Now I harvest lot rent
from folks wanting nothing more

than to plant themselves between my pines.

5. Fisherman

Along the rip-rap, casting a rod for bass or crappie, I watch

the drift of the lake, its scaled skin, water seeping into stone, rising into air,

moving through flesh. A Serpent. The lake a mere bend of its body.

About the Author: Tina Mozelle Braziel grew up on the Coosa. Her poem will appear in her debut collection, Known by Salt, that won the 2017 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry and will be published by Anhinga Press. She directs the Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop for high school students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.