Boy at the Backyard Pond
With a single stone, will you shatter the world?
The reflection holds the same as above--
clouds, sharp branches, the face peering down.
Your muscles hold memory of the ache,
the strain to throw with the grown man’s force.
The pain is worth it. What can destroy, can rule.
When you lifted the goldfish bowl above the tiles,
they screamed. Your palms held the fish in place,
the tiny castle, the plastic trees swaying.
A loosing of the grip would splinter the glass.
It is the small worlds the hands can break.
Could the man’s knuckles, rising, break the sky?
You set the bowl down then. That was mercy,
their fingers wiping sweat, cries turned to laughter.
Now, the house sleeps. The back door left open
leads to this spot above the reflection:
the windless day, the mirrored fist with gravel
as still and complete as the castle in the bowl.
The first missile flies. For an instant, suspended,
the smaller world holds—the boy and trees
and cloud-coated sky their own frail glass
under the dropping stone. When you dash the surface,
will the sound be worth the silence closing back?
Does the water, finally, swallow every throw?
Published in The First Thing Mastered (Tebot Bach, 2013)