A trip to the lake. Part 1 of a multi-part poem series.

THE KOI

 

I entered the lake again.

A place I swore

I’d never go.

 

The looming white sun

frozen in the black sky,

blankly stares.

Has it ever moved?

 

As I stand again in this

muddy filthy marsh

I recall,

beauty once lead me here. But

 

I cannot remember which shade of grey

I thought stood out

more than the others.

 

The water creates an image.

A thing I hoped to never see,

gripping me at the knees

staring back, an ugly beast.

 

Its faint painted smile

faced toward those who

occasionally peer up from the depths.

 

I turn to leave

promise again to withdraw for good,

never to feel the unsettling grasp

of the lake’s seduction.

 

Before I reach the shore,

a peaceful presence calls.

 

A little purple koi

her large green eyes fixed not

on the illusion, but

me.

She jumps,

wishing to dance

wanting to share

her joy of the pond.

 

My chest lurches,

pushes,

farther, further

despite the icy sting.

 

Why?

Why can’t I see

that which bring you

such happiness?

 

I dare not approach,

afraid,

I may corrupt

what charms her.

 

She beckons—

leads me in.

 

Entranced,

I cannot refuse.

I go, and

wait.

But nothing comes.

 

My projection is missing,

in place of the creature is,

me.

 

The little fish senses the hesitation

takes my hand

soothing, challenging

farther, further!

 

For a moment,

I see

water blue and bright,

calm and clear,

like a pane of glass

stretched from bank to bank.

 

The fish radiates warmth

that stays the lake’s frigid fangs.

Her presence seeps into me.

Safe from everything, I can

feel joy—serenity—beauty.

 

I remember the attraction of the pond,

from so long ago that

I questioned if

it ever existed.

 

I want to stay,

so I go

farther, further.

 

Suddenly—

the little purple fish releases my hand.

Bliss leaves as quickly as it came.

She withdraws as

all colors recede.

 

She bids farewell with a playful leap.

I plead in vain, but

why would she stay?

 

As she slips beneath the surface,

I remain

waist deep in the lake.

The warmth is replaced

by the bitter cold—

no matter how I try to

keep it.

 

I sense the hideous being returning.

My legs tremble.

 

Do I run?

Never to see the fish? Or

do I fight?

For something that doesn’t want me.

 

Frozen—

my reflection returns

laughing.


Submitted: August 18, 2022

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