Iliamna Lake Monster
Twenty to thirty feet long
and seldom seen but from
low-flying private planes.
No way in or out but by float plane
or private boat when the river
is high. But what a lake!
More of an inland sea, really,
at 77 miles long, 22 miles wide
at its widest point. As deep as 988 feet.
Pilots report a blunt head—for ramming
boats to dislodge tasty passengers?—
and a dull aluminum-coloured, tapered body.
The beast has a vertical tail
and never surfaces for air, so it can’t
be a serpent, reptile, or whale.
Ergo, a fish. A freakish big fish
capable of towing a Cessna by heavy gauge
wire fishing line attached to a pontoon.
Towed it around the lake, leaving one pilot
stunned as he fell into the moiling water.
Fish towed the plane for miles before the line broke.
Some scientists have suggested the fish
might be a white sturgeon. It’s big enough,
and, being a bottom feeder, is seldom seen.
But it’s got a crocodilian lumpy, bumpy hide
and isn’t a dull aluminum. So what then?
A cryptid species we know nothing about?
Aluminum torpedo fish? Folks claim
it’s scarfed more than a few fishermen.
Was regarded as a piscine god or other
before the white man arrived, hoping for
a big fish fry. Now who’s got the blunt
swollen heads? Who’s pushing water over
the gunwales of their leaky mental boats?
Who’s the monster? Cryptid or scientist?
Whose sharp fin is slicing through the water now?
Richard Stevenson has recently retired from a thirty-year teaching gig at Lethbridge College and has published thirty books and a CD of jazz and poetry in that time. His most recent books are Rock, Scissors, Paper: The Clifford Olson Murders, a long poem sequence from Dreaming Big Publications in the US (2016), and A Gaggle of Geese, haikai poems and sequences from Alba Publications in the UK (2017). Action Dachshund! is forthcoming from Ekstasis Editions in Canada.
by Marc Alan Di Martino
... You’d gulp a mouthful of air and climb / just higher than your comfort zone allowed ...
by Robert Libbey
... near the lip of the tracks, beside a bed of gravel, they gawked, / and gathered. And then, another chorus of whys ...