"Dream...A Fox on Lake Ontario" & "Poem for Oneonta, New York"


Walking downhill, feet warm as dark earth is warm, warm.

Slender girl slipping,

wrapped round by slender

dress. Stepping pass

trees, over moss. Hair

blown by swollen summer

wind. Sliding through

moving pattern of sun

on leaves.


sleeves of


Walking to the grass,

through the grass,

lush, long grass,

dancing on ankle,

the girl stops

frightened by a fox!

If a fox should see me,

should be near me and

I take off my slender

dress. O how fast

the fox will come showing his great red

face, staring at me with pinched nose. O the fox, leaping into me. I would be

captured without my

slender dress wrapped

round my swollen breasts.

Swans are swimming on the lake. Swans

swimming on Lake Ontario.

I will not be afraid. If he were near, swans

would never swim on this

lake. I will take off my slender dress wrapped

round my slender waist,

find a hole in the lake.

The fox will not be in

the lake. I will stay with smiling swans,

swimming, swimming

across the lake.

Poem for Oneonta, New York

We sleep with trains

dreaming in Indian names.

Otsego, Otsego long lake

of night trailing snow showers of light.

In black wells of solitude through silent fixed stars we search for trains

brightened by Indian names.

Neahwa Neahwa shadows

of Indian names filled with fragrant spruce and

cooling winds of trains.

Whistling this winter long lonely trains freight trains boxcar trains

riding past avenues marked

with Indian names.

We sleep with train

dreaming in Indian names.

Susquehanna Susquehanna

long hill of light trailing this December night.

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work. Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations.