Lewis in the Goldfish Pond
by Michael Ball
Transformed by his accidental baptism, Lewis
sprang from the goldfish pond.
For a dripping, shimmering moment,
backyard magic turned him into a real boy.
He never supplicated to mythical beings.
Yet, Lewis played the Pinocchio role.
Likewise dunking in wondrous waters
required neither priest nor incantation.
Lewis, a silly name (not his fault).
Fearful mama’s boy (not his doing).
Though awake, he nestled too safely
in his mother’s protective attention.
For two summers, I had seen him
cry at everything and cry at nothing.
He did not risk, not in trees nor rivers,
not even on seed sacks at the co-op.
Adventure for Lewis was poking
a bean pole into the backyard pond.
Its limited peril was two tubs deep,
a bounded four by four by four feet.
Perhaps the reach for puerile fun
led to his falling face-first into fishes.
With the sudden spasm of the foolish,
he leapt out laughing and wet.
Very long water-lily stems
draped over his frail shoulders.
The magic of the pond waters
instantly transformed Lewis.
He was a real boy — for 23 seconds.
His moment of boyhood passed.
He realized he could not sustain
the abandon of his brave youth.
His tears washed off the pond’s magic.