the Epsteins built this house
and the small stone dam, a vernal pond
swelled and shrank in a summer
meadow of grazing cows.
Glazed with winter
the pond drew the children
down from the hills --
voices ringing, ice skates zinging.
Cows are gone, but behind the house
the pond still lives, larger and deep,
freezing and thawing with the seasons.
Ducks and geese and swans feast
on floating gardens.
In winter they stamp and peck
and plow through ice forming
solid skin on the fluid pond.
On the other side
a train flickers through the trees
while a dragon, lit mouth to tail,
courses through the water.
The moon casts a shimmering glow.
And when no moonlight hides their light
the pond draws the stars down the sky
into the indigo night.
Patti Tana is Professor of English
at Nassau Community College and Associate Editor of
the Long Island Quarterly. Patti is the author of seven
books of poetry, the two most recently published by
Whittier Publications: Make Your Way Across This Bridge:
New & Selected Writings and This Is Why You Flew
Ten Thousand Miles, in which "The Pond on Kaintuck