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Lewis in the Goldfish Pond

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.

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