Jan/Feb 2022  •   Poetry  •   Special Feature

Reflection on Blackwater Pond

by Kelly Burdick

Reflection on Blackwater Pond

Last night we hiked as friends to Blackwater Pond
where frogs slip like secrets. When we caught
them, had them sitting solid on our palms, we held
not only the frogs, but that whole pond; touched
not just their bellies, but the slick thin skin of evolution,
grown polliwogs—squirming fraternity in the water.

Then released them, leaping, back into the water,
their splashes rippling the duck-weedy pond.
We sat on the bank, awaiting evolution
of moon into morning. Somehow I'd caught
my hand in your hair, the first time we'd touched,
so I held it there. Soon, all untangled, I held

your hand. Unlike the frogs I'd held,
smudged with mud, wet with water,
you were warm when I touched
your palm. I was silly, sitting giddy by the pond.
The cloud shade cleared and we caught
glimpses of stars, witnesses to evolution.

My vision swam, consumed by puddles of evolution,
we two became a single moment, bound by held
hands. Clasped between them we'd caught
the point between before and after, between water
and reflection of stars on the pond.
In humid quiet, I was dizzy from your touch.

You brought me back with a different touch,
a brush of your lips. The evolution
of frogs into kisses being caught at the pond
was an unstudied phenomenon I held
soft in my mind. Another: how water
reached to drink up everything, caught

stars in its tapestry, caught
the moon in duckweed. Meanwhile, frogs touched
every heavenly body bathing in that water,
including your reflection. I'd complete my evolution
into Echo for your Narcissus if it meant I'd behold
forever your image in this pond.

Later, hoping not to get caught, we snuck from the pond,
loving all the sunrise touched. Holding
water in our palms, we sang our own evolution.