To My Future Nephew II

It’s early sunrise when our Volvo finally stops.
Out the window, the sky hasn’t yet birthed

blue. You’re still asleep, strapped into your leopard-
print car seat, head leaning against the strap.

When I was nine, ten, eleven, there was nothing
more beautiful than watching the lake’s first wet yawns

at dawn. The thick-chested frogs leaping awake.
The fishing spiders slipping through dirt. Glass-

winged dragonflies diving, kissing the surface algae,
swooping away. Those summers, the lake was alive

and colorful and home. Everyday I jumped,
splashed, swam in those waters. Last night, I found

an old photo beneath my three-legged
nightstand. Pink and orange reflecting onto

the lake’s surface. The bottom half of the sky
and the top half of the lake formed two wings

of a halved butterfly. This morning, I knew
I had to take you there. You’re awake now,

hands rubbing your eyes. I pick you up from the seat.
Carry you. When we arrive, there’s nothing

here. No pink-orange surface. No frogs.
No water. All that remains is a giant crater left

in the ground like a paw print. The water long-
dried-up, leaving behind only a layer of crushed rock.

Where’s the lake? you ask. The sky only now starts
to turn blue. I don’t know, I say, looking up

at the sky. It’s warmer than I remember.
Maybe we drove to the wrong place.

Daniel Boyko is a writer from New Jersey. His work appears or is forthcoming in SOFTBLOW, Nanoism, Blue Marble Review, and The Aurora Journal, among others. He serves as Editor-in-Chief of Polyphony Lit. Wherever his dog is, he can’t be far behind.

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