Our parents gave us no nuggets
of wisdom or dog shit or gold.

No nuggets at all. Rough stones
to worry into smoothness.

Five kids. Their only advice:
don’t have five kids.

We took that advice
and ran away from home

with it. Our pockets
filled with rocks, we jumped

into the lake. Lake Huron,
Too cold to drown in.

We jettisoned our rocks
and slogged back to shore.

Our parents waited on shore
with cold wet towels

and rubbed us vigorously
until despite all logic

we caught fire.


Jim Daniels is the author of several books of poems, including, most recently, Rowing Inland and Street Calligraphy. His latest book of fiction, The Perp Walk, was published by Michigan State University Press in 2019, along with the anthology he edited with M.L. Liebler, RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music.