My grandma calls to talk about Notre Dame football, and I ask if the story of the man who disappeared on Birch Lake is true. “It has to be,” she says. “How can any story be untrue?” A cabin at the top of the hill, on the east side of the lake surrounded by a few dead Fords, pieces of tractor—junk. Late night, the man kisses his wife before leaving to mouse for bass. By sun break, his boat washes up in the reeds near Camp Tannadoonah. Only his clothes—neatly folded—and wallet are found. The sheriff and a few deputies drag the lake all summer, but never pull up his body. On the anniversary of his father’s disappearance, the man’s son pours a pint of Canadian Club into the lake. Grandpa thinks he ran off to Vegas with a showgirl, Mr. Templeton suspects the Upper Peninsula to skip debt. Sometimes when I dream, I’m staring up at the water’s surface, tangled in weeds, the sun breaking in murky beams. Other times I’m standing on the porch of a desert motel room, smoking the butts of last night’s cigarettes. “Where ever he went,” Grandma says, “he needed his fishing gear.”
Rob Kenagy lives, teaches, and fishes in Michigan. He writes and plays music as Ganges, and records with They Were Thieves. His poems have appeared in Vinyl, Forklift Ohio, Hobart (online), and Gargoyle.