Michael Loderstedt

Ode to Lake Erie

Northeast · Collinwood · Poetry

Erie darling, you’ve pulled me
here, my Atlantic, my Ellis
Island. Your brothers, sisters
seemed indifferent, dumping
God knows what into your vastness.
Diving deeper through the green
pea soup of bricks and tile, of algae
cauldron of midges yet to rise
their swirling clouds hovering
over roaring freeways.

Three winters now, you no longer pull
your thick white blanket. Instead flinging
lace curtains across the trees, furiously
chewing your edges, tumbling oaks
and sycamores alike, rounding
them into bleached bare bones.

 Oh Crib, tiny orange period
to end city’s sentence, filler
of coffee pot, water pitcher.
We’re made more of you
than you of us.

Some nights I dream you’ll take
me from this house, the kitchen
cabinets strewn wreckage, we’ll cling
to anything left floating, the dishes,
glasses becoming polished pebbles. Look––
there’s an old Euclid Beach marble
sand blasted smaller, an agate moon.

Michael Loderstedt

Michael Loderstedt is a near thirty-year resident of the North Collinwood “beach streets” where he’s refurbished an old summer cottage and built a studio. He loves this neighborhood next to Lake Erie, a quiet community nestled within the city. He also runs Photocentric, a contemporary photography gallery in the Waterloo Arts District. He is a retired art professor from Kent State University, now concentrating on his writing and studio work. He received a 2019 OAC Fellowship for Non-Fiction for a draft of his memoir The Yellowhammer’s Cross. His visual work is held in the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Akron Art Museum, Progressive Insurance and the Cleveland Clinic and many others.


Neighborhood Voices is a city-wide creative writing project designed by Literary Cleveland and the Cleveland Public Library to engage writers across Cleveland, allowing residents to connect with neighbors, share stories of their community, and draft new writing about what makes their neighborhood unique.


Cleveland Public Library
325 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114

Project Created By Literary Cleveland

Literary Cleveland is a nonprofit organization and creative writing center that empowers people to explore other voices and discover their own. Through an expanding roster of multi-level classes, workshops and events, Literary Cleveland assists writers and readers at all stages of development, promotes new and existing literature of the highest quality, and advances Northeast Ohio as a vital center of diverse voices and visions.

Project Presented with Support By the Cleveland Public Library

Founded in 1869, Cleveland Public Library serves the residents of Cleveland through its network of 27 neighborhood branches, the Main Library downtown, Public Administration Library at City Hall, homebound delivery services, and mobile services to daycare and senior centers. From a collection of 10.5 million items, the Library lends over 5 million items a year to its 330,000 registered borrowers and to 43 other CLEVNET-member libraries in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Public Library is home to the Ohio Center for the Book and the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, serving all 88 counties in the state of Ohio. For more information, visit cpl.org.