Joannie Stangeland

The Lake Makes a Mirror


She sees herself on the surface, a little wavy,
as though looking through old glass.

The wind arrives, ruffles her image, rustles
through willows along the shore,

each leaf turning like another page
and she sees the plots unfold

in shifting currents, the water’s texture
becoming a scheme she can open

like the paper fortune tellers
she folded as a girl. Here,

she writes a new future without worry,
chooses a villain

who makes a suave entrance
and looks nothing like a crab.

Evasive, the lake’s face hides
the light she knows will come

when this weather has done its work.



“The Lake Makes a Mirror” previously appeared in Into the Rumored Spring, Ravenna Press, and in The Midwest Quarterly.


Joannie Stangeland’s third book of poems, Into the Rumored Spring, was published by Ravenna Press last fall. Her chapbook A Steady Longing for Flight won the inaugural Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award, and her chapbook Weathered Steps was published by Rose Alley Press. Joannie’s poems have appeared in Crab Creek Review, Floating Bridge Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Many Trials to the Summit, Fire On Her Tongue, and other publications. Joannie was a 2003 Jack Straw writer, and she serves as poetry editor for the online journal The Smoking Poet.


READING:  Joannie Stangeland will be reading from Into the Rumored Spring at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle, tomorrow, October 13, at 5:00 pm.  Poet Marjorie Manwaring will join her with poems from her new chapbook, What to Make of a Diminished Thing.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *