Heir Apparent

Issue #14: August 2013

From Seiche | Diana Arterian

seiche (/ˈseɪʃ/ saysh)

A phenomenon that occurs within a confined body of water such as a lake, sea or pool. Once disturbed, the enclosed water may produce a seiche or standing wave that moves across its surface or below, between the warmer upper and colder lower layers.

There is a centuries-old

depiction of Syracuse

of what people believed

it would become

in the local historical museum

The buildings

surround a bright long lake

Onondaga –

a city center

flecked with sails

Some students close by

are snickering

I ask what is so funny

That’s Onondaga Lake

Onondaga Lake

is horribly polluted

The city could never

be built this way

Syracuse – from sirako


Salty marsh

My mother is appointed Dean

of Syracuse’s Law School

She buys a house

with a slate path

hires a man

to cultivate the backyard

It is the most land

she has owned

A briar patch

berry trees

Wild peonies grow in the rough

of the yard next door

A friendly woman neighbor

appears one day

invites my mother

to take cuttings of the peonies

Help yourself

to whatever you would like

At twilight a man approaches

my mother’s gardener

He is yelling at the gardener

about cutting the peonies

trespassing on private property

The gardener realizes

the neighbor

is drunk

But your wife

gave us permission –

My wife would never say that

She would never ever say that

The gardener describes

the exchange to my mother

She grows worried

I’m not worried he says

I have my shovel


OCT. 12, 1877

Mr. Abernithy reports

he and his son were fishing

when surprised

by the sudden appearance

of a monster

It swam

along the surface

for several rods

then sank out of sight

The housecleaner arrives

while my mother is at the office

As The Cleaner

pulls into the driveway

she sees a drunk man

moving down the stone path

into the backyard

shouldering a large crossbow

The Cleaner asks my mother

if she allows hunters on the property

It is not the season

for bow hunting

Fire The beauty  is in

 the blue of it That dangerous   shadow  around her

barely visible  licking its fingers

My mother rises

hours before work

to walk the dog

though the dog can no longer

make it up the hill

It is winter

It is dark

Suddenly my mother

sees a man

in camouflage

and a head lamp

in the road

It is not The Neighbor

It is a different man

She continues walking

They pass each other

Your dog is quiet today

he says




Craft Plunge Head-On Into Each

Other on Onondaga Lake


DEC. 25, 1904


into each other

such force

They laid upon the ice

a tangle of splinters

broken cordage

Fearful child   I imagined her arms

  phantom  comforts

Arms wind around her  now

  fleshy  ribbons coiling  around

 I feel them  too

slow like snakes

I spend a winter Sunday alone

the way I imagine

my mother does

I walk the new dog up the hill

I read for most of the day

Listen to the house tick

Before bed

I take the dog out again

then stand and watch

as she barks at the trees

in the dark yard

Things go calm

and quiet

stay that way

Or my mother opens

the front door

The dog is there

gutted entrails

splayed out

like a fan

A gift

Or my mother is out back

with the dog

It is late

The dog is thirty feet away

My mother hears

a sharp thew

then a thin whistle

The dog collapses

a crossbow’s feathered bolt

lodged in her breast

Or I am in the backyard

Suddenly The Neighbor’s Wife

is beside me

clutching peonies

She knocks me down

rips the petals

shoves them

in my throat

then covers my eyes

with cool eel grass

lays me out

on the snow

Or I take the dog

to Onondaga Lake

It is deserted

A building across

pumps out thin clouds

against the sun

A sharp wind

off the water

I walk in

past the icy fringe

I dredge up the bodies

the bone clusters

that line the bottom

Gather them in my arms

Take them to the house

Shove them upright

into the ground

one by one

I build a knobby fence with them

This makes it