JoAnn Balingit

Winter Pond, with Armando

A.B.B. (1960-1970)

Late in fall, the pond
turns over. Clear water goes
dark and bottom clay

dusks up in orange clouds
like fire underwater.
Days of wind and cold,

tadpoles trapped in ice.
Thumbnail-size beached whales, they pock
the mirror's shine, woo

sun enough to melt
lakes no bigger than almonds,
than eyes that open

and close. "What a paltry
funeral," our mother said,
scanning the pews. "I

saw one pupil dilate
and knew that was it."
She called his death an

accident. To keep
our neighbors friends? They had to
deal with their son and

what happened frogging.
What bright eyes, we never said.
Our father wept in secret.

Bebe, are you up
there crying in the trees? I
took a shot of him

once, posed on a log
in cattails. Lake Scott steams,
ringed with mossy oaks—

it's hard to see him.
Up here, poplars drop their seed,
thorns on wings, twirling

like secrets. They wait
to plague our bare feet come spring,
or take root. For now

we skate—where cattails
swayed all summer. On an eye
turning in its sleep.

Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry
Issue 2 | Winter 2011 | p 39-40