path through dense foliage
Ode to a Koi Pond
Marie Zapien


I loved watching you,
Your soft, streamlined forms,
Orbiting in obsidian water,
Your constant carousel

Dipping and sucking,
Clownish water creatures,
In want of nothing

I liked how your caprice created a sanctuary—
Blooming mermaids of algae; cattails and lotus,
All living under your purpose,
In your den of repose

I remember the arrival of the great white heron—
Stately, elongated, ambiguous bird—our nemesis
Wrecking our composure,
And running you aground

And I hated to feel
your panic, my dears,
In the frenzy of the chase,
But some of you followed a sort of knowing,
Suspending yourselves,
Rather than cleaving
To the water

Yet now, what’s to humor my longing,
My dears,
For your velvet nibbling
On my fingers,
And my toes?