Kate Hallett Dayton

Wind Shift on Presque Isle Bay

A single fly buzzes
in the shelves,
and Joe, awake earlier,
breathes heavy sleep.

A huge gill net
covers the area between us
and the boats moored end on
the single dock, side by side,
Mediterranean style.

Last night after eleven,
two fishing boats passed
behind moored yachts
lights blazing as they motored
to the far shore of Stockton.

Later a nor’easter abruptly
whistled its way through the mast.
We pulled anchor at two am,
rounded the tombolo to Julian Bay
protected from a northeast wind.

It’s why we struggle hard now
to get it right the first time.

• • •

Casting into the Weeds

The fisherman stands in the bow, searching.
We’re the only two on the bay this dawn.
He casts into the weeds, I throw words down.

He casts, reels in, casts again.
No time for the fish to take the bait.
The fisherman stands in the bow, searching.

I toss a word out, pull the line back.
He drifts toward the bay where a fish jumps.
He hurls into the weeds; I chuck words down.

Does he want to fish or just cast? I know
we have caught more fish in the corner cove.
The fisherman stands in the bow, searching.

A woodpecker hammers a bog tree.
I toss another word in search of a line.
He angles into the weeds; I fling words down.

Several casts. Several words. No memorable lines.
Seven sunfish swim beneath me.
The fisherman stands in the bow, searching.
He casts into the weeds; I toss words down.

• • •


We hiked to Julian Bay
in pursuit of Noquebay,
a sunken schooner turned barge
that burned offshore years ago,
its hull and donkey barrel under water,
visible offshore on calm days.

I’d forgotten the rocky shoreline
on the right. Breakers rolled in.
Two teens lay on beach towels,
joined by a third with turquoise hair.

At the bog behind the beach
a middle-aged couple harvested
blueberries, two small bags full,
the bushes now knee high.
We sampled, but left most
behind for the bears.

Now a dozen boats slip
into our evening conversation,
captains calling out to ask how much
rode we have in the water.

One by one behind us
anchor lights blink on,
stars in a new constellation.

• • •

Kate Dayton

Nodin Press published Kate Hallett Dayton’s poetry collection, Salt Heart in April, 2013. Her chapbook, Catalpa, from Green Fuse Press was published in Fall, 2013. She traveled to Belgium on a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant to research her novel, Available Light and received a Nolte-Miller Full Scholarship in fiction from the Split Rock Arts Program at the University of Minnesota as well as an Art in the Wild fiction fellowship from University of California, Davis. Her work has been published in American Voices, Flyway, Nimrod International, North Coast Review, Passages North, Whistling Shades and other literary magazines. She has taught for such educational organizations as The Loft Literary Center and Hamline University.