December Lessons by the Pond
by Ysabel de la Rosa



I survey the ice stretching
bank to bank—a science fiction
scene for Southern eyes—and beneath
its surface spy the fallen limbs fastened
tight till spring sets them floating
free again. The bubbles beneath the surface
will burst no time soon. When, I wonder,
did that decisive moment occur? The one
that transformed countless round transparencies
into frost-rimed beads, solid and dark as hematite?

Grey veins etch the silvery green expanse.
I feel as though I’m looking into
the chest wall of some great creature,
not mere substance—no—but presence,
a living thing that breathes
in a way, a world, a dimension
I do not know.

And then
the ice speaks,
speaks as it expands,
expands as it fractures
within some dark depth I cannot see,
releasing the sound—that sound.

At last I learn how
that sound sounds, the elusive
one hand cupped unto itself and clapping.

I learn that when the tree falls,
it is the forest who hears it, that
I, walking home from my passage
by the pond, am a remnant leaf
wafting through winter. And all
of this is beautiful and good.





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