Surface Tension

By Chelsea Rathburn

In the park, a pond aflame
with painted wooden boats
plucks us from our way
to someplace else. And though

the pond, when we draw close,
is less a pond than a low,
wide fountain, and the boats
elaborate miniatures,

toys rented by the hour
to girls in ruffles and boys
with serious faces,
we only like it more.

—How often, how needlessly,
we complicate pleasure
with the pursuit of pleasure.
So for an hour or so

we let the basin swell
sea-wide. We clamber on
the banks with the children
we are not, clapping with them

to see the sails. And when
that blue craft we’ve named ours
glides out too far for sticks
to call it back, how grateful

we are (though we know
there’s nothing really to lose)
for the breeze that we can’t feel
that sends it sailing home.

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