Crosby Pond

by Nina Rubinstein Alonso

Broken fire, corrupted air,
Earth crazy and the water dying,
Yet small dark birds still fly to this pond
And seem to build nests around the edges
Somewhere high in the gash-marked trees;
I hear them singing as I walk
And count all the half-submerged tires,
Mud-heavy, coated with fall algae;
Somebody flung them in the muck,
Perhaps boys at night, I can picture them.

How long does the water take,
I wonder, to reclaim these enemies?
Or maybe a spring is not strong enough
To devour metal, rubber, glass,
The machines that men pick up and throw
In full absurdity into a pond.
Nevertheless this fall continues
Aging the leaves, bringing red to them,
And time, for a moment, comforts me,
Being guiltless and unalterable,

Taking everything in its turn
But itself not changing to another thing.
Fernando is running in the woods
Scouting for the camp of a friend
Who said he was settling in here,
And I walk slowly looking for signs
Of all that is not easy to kill:
Could it go on then, under the water,
Some sort of fish find its life
In the round silent mirror of the pond?

(first appeared in
The New Yorker)