BEFORE THE FREEZE
The morning pond
is bluish-green like
the brooch her grandmother wears
at her wrinkled neck; the girl can see
clear to the bottom, pebbles like
glass eyes and fish flashing cut quartz.
Out in the center a duck floats
still as though painted onto surface,
his feathers extend the waters.
Wind ribs her hair over her eyes,
the world purls and puckers.
Tomorrow the boy
in the book that lies
face-down on her lap will
drown, there is no way out, she already
knows the ending. Tonight
there will be a frost, the cold will
creep up like a feral cat
to seize the duck in ice. His head is nacre
green, his breast a russet leaf
that breathes in the soft swell as though
it would suck up the day, the hour,
the instant. The
girl lies back
on the grassy bank, her toes dig the dirt,
her hands cradle her arched neck and
the book drops into the weeds. She floats
in the lap of autumn currents.
Her chest expands with each quick breath.
The sun is hot on her damp green brow.