In Bayfield by Kenneth Pobo

wisconsin dale scott licensed

In Bayfield
by Kenneth Pobo

The sun trips over
a red rock and breaks.
The Madeline Island ferry
carries dusk shards.

At night Bayfield shines
little lights on Lake Superior.
The town closes down. Wind
makes me shiver even
in June. The Lake

is like my Aunt Stokesia,
chilly even in summer,
strong in any season.

We fall asleep to waves—
they like when people go away
so they can talk about us.

In the morning, motel doors
and stores open. The sun drops
a gold staircase that we climb—
we look down on boats
tied to the dock,
dead fish floating toward shore.

PHOTO: The Madeline ferry in Lake Superior en route from mainland Bayfield, Wisconsin, to Madeline Island, Wisconsin, the largest of the 22 Apostle Islands. Photo by Dale Scott, used by permission.

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NOTE: The Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands in Lake Superior, off the Bayfield Peninsula in northern Wisconsin. All the islands except for Madeline Island are part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The Apostles are dominated by boreal forest, composed largely of white spruce and balsam fir. Examples of the sea caves of the Great Lakes are located on the shorelines of the Apostle Islands, including the North Shore of Devils Island (pictured above). One of the greatest concentrations of black bears in North America is found on Stockton Island. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore serves as an important habitat for nesting birds, including great blue herons and cliff swallows. 

PHOTO:  The sea caves on Devils Island, one of 22 Apostle Islands off the shore of Wisconsin in Lake Superior. Photo by chumlee10, used by permission.

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NOTE: In the 2010 census, Bayfield had a population of 487, making it the city with the smallest population in Wisconsin.  A former lumbering town and commercial fishing community, today Bayfield is a tourist and resort destination. This tourism industry is built around Bayfield’s status as the “gateway to the Apostle Islands.”

PHOTO: Bayfield, Wisconsin, as seen from the harbor on Sept. 30, 2008. Photo by Dls4832, used by permission.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We have been to Bayfield, Wisconsin, a few times. We enjoy the Apostle Islands. The ferry offers various excursions; the one we take most often is back and forth from Madeline Island, about a 20-minute trip. We’ve never seen Bayfield in winter, and I’d like to see Lake Superior in such a cold time. This lake fascinates me. It is indeed a “Great” lake. 

PHOTO: Bayfield, Wisconsin, showing docked Madeline Island Ferry, the Island Queen. Courtesy of, All Rights Reserved.

Kenneth Pobo Photo copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kenneth Pobo is the author of 21 chapbooks and nine full-length collections. Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), and Uneven Steven (Assure Press). Opening is forthcoming from Rectos Y Versos Editions. Lavender Fire, Lavender Rose is forthcoming from Brick/House Books.

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