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M.J. Arcangelini

At Raquette Lake (1973)
For Bette

Fireworks seemed like a great idea to
Celebrate our new-found friendship;
The 20 year old hitchhiker and
The middle-aged birthday girl.
She had some stashed at the cabin.
The moon disassembled and reassembled
Itself on the surface of the lake as we
Approached with the recovered fireworks
And the remaining half of a half-gallon of vodka.
She lit the wicks in turn and then jumped back.
There was the sizzle, then the fizzle as
Each one hissed at our disappointment.
We left them, useless, near the dock, and set out
To peek into the windows of
Unoccupied neighboring cabins
To critique their interior design.
The bottle going back and forth,
While we passed the cool night with
Gossip, giggles, and secrets revealed.
As morning eased into the landscape
The lake emitted a blanketing mist which
Crawled across the yards, a persistent
Nudge sending us at last to our separate beds.


M.J. Arcangelini (b.1952) has resided in northern California since 1979. His work has been published in print magazines, online journals, (including The James White Review, Rusty Truck, The Ekphrastic Review, The Gasconade Review, As It Ought To Be) & over a dozen anthologies.  The most recent of his five collections are: “What the Night Keeps,” (2019) Stubborn Mule Press and “A Quiet Ghost,” (2020) Luchador Press. 


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