On a bent, white plastic chair, a state lodge
balcony, I see the lake, one gray corner
if I stretch too far over the rusty rail.

Decide to take a bird walk, early mist lifts
above bracken water, flush a kildeer
that feigns a broken wing to lure me

from her buff-colored eggs         balanced
on rough rocks behind field grasses
where the water licks spiny driftwood.

A tired one-car road ends at the edge,
waves from a lone john boat lap lonely
as I cross the beach, neglected, choked

with chickweed dominating concrete
that gave up the struggle. Four
bald trees line the center of the parking

lot island, six, no seven, turkey buzzards,
dark guardians of the shore entry, pleased
that the pandemic emptied human life,

here, as in whole towns, farms and cities.
No squeals of children chasing “it”
No sticky popsicle wrappers, no

drained beer cans crushed in the sand
or half hot dogs baking in the sinking sun.
Coal-colored wings snap, snap, death claps.