So we go out over the grass,
the strip of sand,
into the waters
you seeking red and yellow stones
to make a frame around a picture
me here with you, simply seeking.
On surface tension, water bugs
sketch sunlit lines, arrows that glisten
a random geometry flickering all over this lake.
I move toward a cluster
to observe their mechanism. They skitter off
in several directions, a flock
of darting commas and semi-colons
at the advance of this colossus. At last
I see one up close,
right before my thigh. I’d imagined wings,
but it has tiny pin-like legs
that thrust skim a body flat as a catamaran
or skipping stone.
Through the water’s glassy membrane
I see another level of darting
—tadpoles, between the crystal ceiling and muddy floor,
dull brown and gray, wriggling in flight.
Feet sink to the ankles, prickly slime between the toes.
Didn’t realize it was so slooshy.
A dragonfly helicopter whirrs past, veers away.
You come with a dripping handful of stones.
“I want them like this, no bigger than this.”
— first published in Prairie Fire