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I Visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
a Few Months after My Divorce

by Jennifer Finstrom

and know, without wading into the water, that it is both cold and deep. I should have worn my necklace made from shipwreck pottery, ceramic fragment smoothed by tongues of sand, sliver of broken plate speaking the language of mourning brooches worn by Victorian ladies.

When the Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her crew on November 10, 1975, I was six years old. Twenty years later, the ship’s bronze bell was brought to the surface, the centerpiece of the museum. It will be what I remember most from this visit, and I want to put out my hand and stroke its cold flank, listen for what it can tell me of silence.

Later, walking the beach, I imagine what mermaids would swim off Whitefish Point, see them in winter coats with shiny fish scales in place of fur. They circle the lighthouse, carry spears instead of tridents, bear souls in their arms to an underwater Valhalla.

I take six stones with me when I leave. They stand for someone’s death. I don’t know whose.

PHOTOGRAPH: The bell from the SS Edmund Fitzgerald on display at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula comes into my poetry quite often, and even though I’ve vacationed in other places over the years, when I read this call for submissions, I knew that I’d write something about the UP.

Finstrom Vacation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Finstrom
 teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates a writing group, Writers Guild, at DePaul University. She has been the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine since October of 2005, and recent publications include Escape Into LifeMidwestern GothicNEAT, and YEW Journal. She also has work appearing in the Silver Birch Press The Great Gatsby Anthology and forthcoming in the Alice in Wonderland Anthology.

PHOTO: The author on vacation (in Evanston, near her home city of Chicago) this year.