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 Spirit Chimes

Some Water Lilies I Used to Know

I came to the pond
to love the unseen—
the cosmos
and all its citizens
under the dozing water
and I remember the first time
I found their gifts
to the air-breathing world:
some paper angels
impeccably folded
and unfolded
that in silence
sang as if it were
the Resurrection,

and they drew the breath
from everything
around me
with their impossible
and even the turtles
in their personal caves
and the copperhead
that understood the rules and
stayed on its side of the reeds
could not take my eyes off
the baby doll pink
tucked inside
unearthly white fabric—

new landscapes
on the story-book islands
where amazing things
must happen,
where fairy-sized pools
shivered from sprinkles of
my powdery afternoon

when I learned how easy it
is to get happiness right
and how fears look so small
next to porcelain pink and
slow-breathing white
and the antics of

Life was one sprawling
present moment
until I went away to join
the mortal world,

and after a long journey
through its furnace of
and the temporary insanity
of wanting more,

I decided to walk again
toward the fairy lands
where dragonflies
were certainly
loafing in midair
and perhaps a gnome was planting
tiny turnips next to
a rhinestone pond,

but most important:
the candy-colored festivals
on their pleasure islands
were in the flower of their
succulent youth.

I couldn't miss a thing! And I
hurried to the event. Then stopped.
And stared. And stared.
A sign glowered like a sentry
with guns and sticks and surly eyes:
"No Trespassing"

Someone had bought
my companions
and their frothy metaphors,
their soft-spoken counsel,
their biblical parables
and letters from the other side

and yes, I was allowed
to stand by the creek
and listen to its rocky muttering,

but my origami stars, my birds in
full bloom, my sages . . .

snatched up in a land grab
and hidden in someone's
well-mannered yard while the
shifty-eyed copperheads,
the dragonflies,
the crotchety turtles
were doing what they do
without me.

And desire slithered
like the wet branches

and I swore if I could
return to that fragment
of a moment when I
first met the still doves,
I would chisel it into
my memory
and speak to them like
a crazy wild woman
at one with the black soup
of frogs
and secret cities,

and I would become
opal linen
and sun.

Patricia Joan Jones

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