Pond Jumping

Ashley Ellen Goetz

Your toes first lap the water; it’s frosting; it’s iced tea; it’s caramel clear; it’s Diet Coke; it’s a cool liquid rush that shivers up your calves, tips the nips of your breasts and perks every goose bump up your bare arms; you must float within the warmer top four inches of the lake; sometimes six inches; butt abreast; back afloat; navel pool; toes flip; arms reach their egret wingspan, their angel stretch; flex your rib cage, your armpit, your pinky fingers; bridling danger; wrapped wet death surges your ear drums, tickles your lips, closing in on the last gasp and forcing yourself afloat into the swift instance of warmth, maybe rank piss, maybe beer, maybe a beaver—Warriors of the Pond—chasing out their distresses: beach goers; capped perfectionists; whales in black skivvies; little girls; tan gray haired bearded men with dogs, after the appropriate time, sunbathing in their pride, glinting resolute; indignation dog paddle; arm afloat; rocky cliff; straight edge waterfall tumble from the icy tide pool where plunging, flapping, beer shot guns and abandoned boxer briefs, mingle in the tree tops; monkeys with acorns hiding all around you; again; always; haunting you; laughing at you; pushing you over the edge; take a running start he told you; you forgot, or didn’t have time to remember before the monkey got you; tripping rocks; crag scrapes and waters rush, bursting cold; eyes in the dark; bubble blows; nose stings; ear pressure that cannot withstand the depths of your dark mind, swirling under in the black indigo, the chartreuse, the amber streak of sunlight shimmer, the cerulean blackness; the orchid stroke; the swim kick; the digging, searching for the sky; eyes akimbo; cliffs jet; jut from the trespassed woods you trampled; the tide pools; the rocks you rocked, that you vandalized with your heart’s anxieties on the edge of your tomorrows, your every days; days of marmalade; days of Jade; days of Tanquerray; days of trains; days of cheese plates; plates of olives; cups of cafe lattes, crispy-edged; days of Italian romance; romancing Tuscany; Sienna; mopeds; nights of Florence; friends from far-edged places on the coast of San Fran; San Diego; San Domingo; San Salvador; sans an unpretty sunrise; the breath of a bird on a fairy lily; a maroon-tucked flower; a petal of peeling pale paint; a portrait of primrose, of petunia stalks; swims in shade are like life breaths; bursts of live life; light illuminates new friends; Friendlies; friend lies; young; old; sappy; silly; sly; slippy; drippy; hippie; hipster poet profs; dapper gentleman; Gatsby-esque; always Kafka-esque; thinking in stanzas; arms wrapped; always around pandas; poodles; ones with red coats; sparkled crimson hats, petite, but not too small, not like a miniature desk with a folio full of mouse-proportioned flowers, millimeter-thick books, drawers with pens, with pencils, with scissors, all of teeny, tiny size, glimmering, tinkering with your mind; a good day; a day of sport-licked pond waters and growlers, two at a time; a day for pond jumping, ten feet deep.