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In Case I Fall in the Lake

14 April, 2021: In Case I Fall in the Lake

Read a Poem

In Case I Fall in the Lake

By Dan Dorman

For Doug, his new canoe and the WJH writers
I haven’t been swimming in so long that
Diving into this summer lake
Under the warble of a midday buoy moon
It dizzies me these waters
Muddied with sediment carried by glaciers
Whose crumbling hum humbly recedes
In flows of streams which settle into lakes
Like this one—lakes that ripple the ancient song
If I could say it just as it feels I wouldn’t need poems
I would stand at the lake’s edge or in the wobbling
Twelve-foot canoe and call to my ancestors
To say this is who I am
This is who I am now certain is me
Looking in the water
I fear the long slope
But one thing I’ve come to learn
About where I stand
Is there are those with me
Who will pull me up
If ever I fall into the lake
“In Case I Fall in the Lake” by Dan Dorman. Copyright Dan Dorman 2020. Used by permission of the author.
Dan Dorman teaches creative writing and he circulates books in a nearby library system. His writing can be found at jubilatWord for/Word and Jet Fuel Review. Connect with him on Instagram @dan_dorman_us and

 Write a Poem

“Cry-hustling” is the term for pretend grief, strategic sobbing. Write a poem about someone who is cry-hustling.
Thanks, RC
5/7/2021 10:32:46 AM

I was there at the meeting, Dan, when this poem hitched a ride with you, and still it floors me and choke up at the last stanza. I love "If I could say it just as it feels I wouldn’t need poems". It is why we write, trying to describe the indescribable, the feeling beneath the feeling, the attention of ancestors and invisible friends. write on.
4/15/2021 1:26:23 PM

Respectfully disagree.

These images hurt. They aren’t ours to use or appropriate.
4/14/2021 8:30:20 PM

Bill Ritz
Cry-hustling epitomized ..

Boo-hoo-hoo cried the robust male.
That cartoon face hurts my feelings.
A caricature is supposed to be fun,
But I don’t think this one is funny.
Good intentions matter not to me.
I take pride in my heritage:
Tough, resilient and enduring.
But that face hurts my feelings.
Take it away, boo-hoo-hoo.
4/14/2021 7:02:35 PM

Sierra Polsinelli
The Hustler
The boy looked upset
the story he told
But the boy was more
exhilarated than scared.

He seems to know
he should be stricken,
trying to match his face
to the moment,
his outward appearance
a contradiction.

Too calm, too practiced
for what he witnessed.
The shots, the screams, the chaos.

is what he did
no one noticed,
except me.
4/14/2021 6:00:40 PM

I don't believe in this and feel women are often accused of this because authentic crying cannot be accepted for what it is. Emotion. Sorrow. Grief. Regret. Disappointment. Resentment. Rage.
4/14/2021 5:48:24 PM

I believe I am surrounded by people who will pull me from a metaphorical lake. My favorite verse: But one thing I’ve come to learn
About where I stand
Is there are those with me
Who will pull me up
If ever I fall into the lake
4/14/2021 1:15:45 PM

RE: In Case I Fall in the Lake
Very enjoyable read--like a swirling identity search--find, grow; repeat. Awesome!
4/14/2021 10:43:29 AM

Mary M Chadbourne
I enjoyed this piece, Dan. It feels like an invitation to a rebaptism of sorts in all that ancient confluence of where you came from, where you are.
4/14/2021 10:15:36 AM

A Skinny Poem Cry-Hustle

DAY 14 Prompt: Cry-hustling

It’s surprisingly easy to knock off a cry-hustle. Speak-out!
Surprisingly, it’s easy to speak-out! Knock off a cry-hustle.

© Tovli 2021
4/14/2021 10:12:22 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.