Lake Superior Proposes Marriage

I’m heartbroken to tell her I’m already taken by Brian, who studies rocks for a living, who walks her shores and picks her stones, who points, names, and pockets smooth charms: chert, gneiss, basalt, rhyolite, the victory of agate. We will be married in a year. He is handsome and unshaven and I am dreaming. Here I am in my flannel skin. There he is, squinting at a rock that looks like a tiny planet. There she is, taking small sips of his hiking boots, leaving champagne suds in her wake.

Love Letter to a Friend over the Holidays

Merry Christmas,
you are far away.

Today I read

a story about a fawn
named Pippin
who was adopted

by a Great Dane
named Kate.

Pippin is me.

Her baby spots
look like a white out

You are Kate.

The white diamond on her chest
is exactly where her heart is.

Don’t you love

how dogs are designed
this way? Don’t you think

it’s odd
how humans haven’t
grown a new skin

to adapt
to our environment?
No tortoise shell, no chameleon
color. Only the emotional

layer. Let’s call it
the cry-a-dermis.

Today I read

that when a cardinal
sees himself in the mirror
he tries to squawk
his reflection away.
The cardinal does not
migrate, packs no suitcase.
He has no need to load gifts
into the back seat
of the car and worry
about tearing
the foil paper.

I learned

that when a bird
flies into your house
death is coming.
This is why nobody
invites the cardinal
home for the holidays.

Merry Christmas,
you are not here.

There are only

so many things I can put
in the care package:

poems scented
like rose perfume
and toner, recipes for soup,
a clove cigarette

half-smoked because
it’s too cold here
to finish it outside,

a clipping from the local paper
about a fight between
neighbors over shoveling snow
and a privacy fence
in the front yard.

I have so many things
to tell you.

Write me back.

I will tell you what
it will be like
when I tell them to you.

Photo by Savannah Wakefield.

Jean Prokott

Jean Prokott is author of the chapbook The Birthday Effect (Black Sunflowers, 2021), is a winner of the AWP Intro Journals Project, and has poetry and nonfiction published or forthcoming in Rattle, Arts & Letters, Angel City Review, RHINO, Red Wheelbarrow, and Sierra Nevada Review, among other journals. She has an MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato, a Masters of Science in Education, and she lives in Rochester, Minnesota and online at