The Song of the Water Lily

Water lilies dream
atop a still pond
surface tension keeps them afloat,
the only tension here in
this place,
petals hum major chords
in ripples they are carried
the impressionist brushstrokes of
Monet are alive here in
this place,
the ducks are gallivanting, not
struggling to stay afloat
insects fluttering, a beating heart
the water lilies a testament
to all things that do not seem
possible
that are possible here, in
this place

A young boy stumbles
across the pond
he throws a stone at a water lily
just for fun,
trying to sink it
he catches a dragonfly,
stalking it patiently and clasping
it between two hands.
it is his now.
he pulls off its wings
because he can
the ducks flock to the treetops
recollecting sisters lost
when young boys have guns
in their young boy hands
Death, their hobby

The boy leaves and the leaves
breathe once more
but there is a hush that falls
over the pond
a blanket of disquiet like the
mist on a crisp morning
the insects have seen that their
wings can be silenced
the water lilies bear witness
that they too, can sink
the ducks know that water does not
always roll off a duck’s back,
but rust can coat it

The boy remembers,
he remembers the pond
years later when he looks like a
man
after he has thrown stones at his
wife, trying to sink her
after he has dismembered and eaten
the innocent
after he has commissioned wars
putting more guns in more boys hands
he remembers the pond
and he returns to the choir
only, this time he brings big machines
and sucks it dry

 

Cover by William Zhang

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