Ephemeral Pond


By Lois Levinson

A poem is taking shape in my brain
like an ephemeral pond after a storm,
an entire ecosystem that unfolds
in a place I thought was dry land.

Only yesterday I made my way through
withered grasses, suffered those desiccated
seeds with prickly edges that stick
to your shoes and poke through your socks.

Today in that very spot a pond emerges:
blue-winged teal and mallards dabble
in its waters, and snowy egrets
on black stilts step high at its shoreline.

Now a great blue heron glides in
to the water’s edge, folds its impressive
wingspan and waits for the fish.
Can there be fish in an ephemeral pond?

Marsh grasses and reeds sprout up, 
and frogs croak in the cattails.
Above the playa, dragonflies take flight,
and violet green swallows swoop and dive

for insects on the wing. Red-winged blackbirds
perch on reeds and croon their po-poreeee.
Unseen in the greenery, a tiny common
yellowthroat belts out his witchety, witchety aria.

I throw off my shoes and socks,
plunge my feet into the nascent water,
inhale its earthy scent, reach in to pluck
waterborne leaves and feel their slimy skins.

I must write the poem before it all vanishes.


Lois Levinson is a member of the Poetry Book Project at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Colorado, where she is working on her first book. Bird’s Thumb was the first journal to publish her work. Since then her poems have appeared in Mountain Gazette, The Literary Nest and other journals.