The last time we drove out to the lake

in fall, once the loons had left to find the sea,
with the road wet and rutted, and the skin
of ice that ringed the shore, you lifted up

one of the boots you’d left there in summer,
and it rattled with seeds stored by some mouse,
collected with care, measured out grain by grain.

Laughing, we tipped it over the porch rail,
drained it to the frost-scorched grass in a small
avalanche, the wood stove waiting to be lit.

Since then, the skin of ice has grown to plates
of bone that shove against each other,
and heave, and scrape along the shore.

The camp is closed up, the wood stove grown cold,
and whatever we had stored away has
been emptied out, carelessly, grain by grain.

Kevin Casey is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and received his graduate degree at the University of Connecticut. His work has been accepted by Grasslimb, Frostwriting, Small Print Magazine, Turtle Island Review, The Monarch Review, and others. He currently teaches literature at a small university in Maine, where he enjoys fishing, snowshoeing and hiking.