Bogdaniec 2
Canadian Lakes, Michigan
by Steve Bogdaniec

The town is towards the middle of Michigan
there for a destination wedding on Saturday
we drove from Chicago on Sunday afternoon
my fiancée, her mother, her father, her brother, and me
separate cars, but all stayed in a cabin on a small lake
and what the housing agent called a cabin
was really a big modern four bedroom brick house
fiancée and I had the whole second floor

gorgeous huge trees everywhere
endless green lawns
the water a 100 feet from the back door
slow days on a tiny manmade beach
sunny but not hot
other family members either on our lake or nearby
barbecue family dinners
lawn chair conversation and music coming from someone’s iPad
paddle boats and swimming
and standing on rampant seaweed in the shallow lake
little fish visible along the shoreline
watched others fish off the little pier
attempted it once myself with dismal results

area is famous for its boating and golf
and we did neither
although we did participate in the river tubing wedding activity on     Wednesday
bunch of us went down a slow river on an inner tube
I loved it, but my fiancée got separated from everyone
and got stuck under a fallen tree branch
she was scratched up and almost drowned
also, we did drive around one day searching for mini golf
couldn’t find the course 30 minutes away because it went out of     business
and forgot to tell the internet
finally found a putt-putt/driving range/go kart combo further out
that was decent

cabin was comfy
but had no internet or cell phone reception for my carrier
finished basement had a pool table with no balls or sticks
agent said it was off limits due to the actions of previous guests
that was fine as the basement reeked of mold anyway
clearly had just been flooded
the first floor living room had crappy cable
connected to a 15-year-old TV
and a VCR and VHS tapes
saw Caddyshack by myself one night after everyone else went to bed

campfire with s’mores one night towards the end of the week
in the little fire pit between the house and the water
tasty and smoky
looking up at all the stars we can’t see in Chicago
we only had s’mores one night
but every night, I went out by myself out the back door
down by the water
just to look up at the sky

then the wedding at a country club:
ceremony next to the club’s driving range
started late
blazing sun in a suit
rest of it was inside or outside when it was cooler
that was very nice

apart from the river tubing fiasco
it was low intensity
the lake we were on was not one of the Great Lakes
it wasn’t the UP everyone loves so much
nothing to stand in line for
nothing to rush to see or do apart from
the after-party for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding itself
it was quiet but not silent
fun but not spectacular
but it’s hard to relax around spectacular

PHOTO: Canadian Lakes, Michigan.

Bogdaniec 1

I think I choose a “list” style for the piece because I wasn’t sure myself how I felt about this vacation. I suppose that I brainstormed my opinions as I wrote. It was definitely less-than-perfect in terms of entertainment value, and I don’t think I would ever need to go back. But just as I ended the poem on a positive note, I do look back on Canadian Lakes, Michigan, fondly.

Steve Bogdaniec
is a writer and teacher, currently teaching English at Wright College in Chicago. Steve has had poetry and short fiction published in numerous journals, most recently Eclectica Magazine, Silver Birch Press, and One Sentence Poems. Follow him on Twitter! Just kidding—he never posts anything there anyway.

Author photo: Steve Bodganiec at Canadian Lakes, Michigan. (July 2014).