Arts & Culture » Culture

Lake Ice in the River


Cynthia Bostwick, Port Huron • Runner-up, Poetry


This year, as every year, the lake ice in the gray river
floats south.
Lower down it will jam
and lock tight the channel.
No ships will move
and docks will break with the press of it;
nothing can stop
the ice from deepening,
and choking the water,
except the warm sun
coming later.
One year a dog was caught
mid river when the ice
began to break up.
He must have begun to cross
from Michigan to Ontario
too late in the season of ice
when the warmer sun begins to loosen the
ice into floes. Trapped on a piece
of floating ice from the northern lake,
frigid water all around him,
those who saw him said he would
run to the edge of the white ice,
but stop just short of jumping into
the deepening dark of the river.
No one knows what happened to the dog.
We heard him barking after dusk,
as he passed by our small town
and then the deep night and
the swift current swept him into silence.
I like to think the
dog eats ribs
on Mt. Elliot
in the back of some
barBque joint there.
Neon red, the sign flashes
out front but the real attraction is
Outside the kitchen door, around back.
A dumpster: beside it a
plate of scraps left by
a kindly cook
who has courted the dog since
early spring when the broken ice
knocked up against the shore along
industrial Jefferson.
The dog leapt off the ice at last
and ran a few blocks
into Black Bottom —
a country dog
enchanted by the smells of the city
but wary of the dark hands and exotic voices
begging him to be
domestic again.
He can never be but a wild dog
having ridden to another world,
carried by the ice of Huron to
a promised land of fat and flavor
when the sun broke him free.
Send comments to

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.